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Support & Insight for the Autumn of Life

Fooling the Doctor: Cognitive-Reserve Hides Alzheimer’s

Don Hayen is a retired doctor, diagnosed with Alzheimer's at 71. But that diagnosis took way too long. Find out how his "cognitive reserve" fooled his doctors. See why he sure wished it hadn't. (Video)

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Weekly regrets to inform our readers that Don Hayen passed away in the early morning hours of December 31, 2019, ending his long journey with Alzheimer’s, and permanently leaving his wife Jane, a daughter and son, and their respective spouses and six grandchildren.

The family suggests that those who wish to make a donation in Don Hayen’s name consider the San Diego Alzheimer’s Association Center, 5075 Shoreham Place #240, San Diego, CA 92122 or Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, 8950 Villa La Jolla Drive STE C-129, La Jolla, CA 92037, both of which are focused on helping people learn about Alzheimer’s and which are focused on early detection.


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Alzheimer and Diet
Alzheimer and Diet
February 8, 2017 11:36 pm

Alzheimer is such a scary disease. My best friend's mother had it and I helped take care of her for the last year or so of her life. It was a difficult time.

Reply to  Alzheimer and Diet
June 12, 2018 11:47 am

You're a great friend to help look after your friends mother. That's such a rare thing to see.

May 31, 2018 1:53 am

It is extremely frustrating. I was a psychologist up to my retirement 4 years ago. Became conscious of symptoms 3 years ago, when old friends noticed changes in my behaviour, but doctors are reluctant to give me the diagnosis of FTD, although they mention it regularly, because I am functioning "too well"! I know I am able to function because of the strategies that I have in place, but live alone and receive no support because my current diagnosis is mild cognitive impairment. They do not see the struggle that goes into maintaining function!!!!!

Reply to  Unknown
May 31, 2023 11:44 pm

Late to the discussion, but I have the same conundrum. I am 59 and have significant cognitive impairment and it is a relative scale, not some fixed level of degradation. I have significantly high Tau & Beta amyloids levels, just not the marked damage on mri yet

June 11, 2018 12:58 pm

Dr Hayen

Little old lady? Aren't you a little old man? I thought PET scan was used to show build up of tangles which often precedes Alzheimer diagnosis. The issue is: some people with tangles never present with cognitive issues issue. There is much we don 't know. I wish you the best .

June 11, 2018 8:16 pm

I served with Don on's 2nd Early Stage Advisory Group in 2007, to which he refers in this video interview. I believe the interview is at least 10 years old, and a lot has changed since then in the way the disease is perceived, and its diagnostic criteria has been completely changed. So his comments are really outdated. I've been reading your blog since my diagnosis in 2005, and think it's irresponsible for you to publish it without dating it.
Reply to  Unknown
April 10, 2020 12:52 pm

Thanks for the personal information and solid, clear feedback. It is essential in making this site the best it can be for our subscribers. We added a full update below the video. It is definitely important and essential. The video itself contains personal insights that are timeless. Together with the new update below it, we are confident that people watching this video will continue to gain much from Doctor Hayen's insightful message. May it serve to enrich his legacy to all of us.

B. Berger

B. Berger

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This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

It is a place where we separate out the wheat from the chaffe, the important articles & videos from each week’s river of news. With a new post on Alzheimer’s or dementia appearing on the internet every 7 minutes, the site’s focus on the best information has been a help to many over the past 15 years. Thanks to our many subscribers for your supportive feedback.

The site is dedicated to all those preserving the dignity of the community of people living with dementia.

Peter Berger, Editor


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