Mémoire et âge : « mais que suis-je donc venu faire là ? » Volume 8, numéro 5, Mai 2012


The concept of “aging” does not include a definite reality and its representations can change according to the context. The analysis can only be individual, centered on the life course in the elderly. One should know and understand this context and its social and environmental determinants to use them in the best interest of the person concerned. Any memory complaint does not require a “memory clinic” that often does not reassure, whatever the precau- tions taken. Demand for specialist consultation should be reserved for specific pathology suspected dementia. In the absence of cognitive impairment, it is benign oblivion, more and more common with advancing age. It is not possible today to conclude on later risk of dementia, since the studies are contradictory on this point. In contrast, subjective complaints of memory are often associated with depression or increased by certain medications they are primarily associated, in the representations of the patients or their surroundings, to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Current data on the “Mild Cognitive Impairment” do not present it as a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. The only clinic approach allows the generalist, with a detailed explanation, to tell the nature of “benign” memory problems in older patients.