Chapter 23

Busting Ten Myths about Dementia

In This Chapter

arrow Revealing the truth about risk factors for dementia

arrow Recognising that dementia isn’t a hereditary condition

arrow Debunking red wine as a cure for dementia

Two types of myth exist: traditional or ancient stories dealing with gods, ancestors and heroes that try to explain a certain worldview or set of beliefs through the characters, and widely held or false notions. In Greek mythology, the tale of Icarus is a good example of the first type of myth. His father, the master craftsman Daedalus, makes wings out of feathers and wax with which he and Icarus can fly. He warns his son not to fly too close to the sun or the sea, but to follow the path he takes as they head off together. Icarus does not listen and flies too close to the sun, which melts his wings and causes him to plummet to his death in the sea. This myth teaches us about the dangers of over-ambition. A four-yearly belief that England can win the World Cup is an example of the second type of myth.

Myths about dementia fall into the second category: they’re completely false and misleading and have nothing useful to teach us. In fact, false beliefs have actually led people ...

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