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Alzheimers Dement. 2019 Aug;15(8):1104-1106. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2019.06.3915.

Lucidity in dementia: A perspective from the NIA.

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Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD, USA. Electronic address:
Division of Behavioral and Social Research, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Division of Neuroscience, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD, USA.


In this issue of Alzheimer's & Dementia, Mashour et al. propose the intriguing hypothesis that some manifestations of late-stage dementia are reversible, albeit transiently. Calling this phenomenon paradoxical lucidity, their paper follows a 2018 workshop sponsored by the National Institute on Aging that assessed the state of knowledge on lucidity in dementia and identified areas ripe for further study. The National Institute on Aging has since released two funding opportunity announcements (RFA-AG-20-016 and RFA-AG-20-017) to establish the building blocks of such a research program. The potential challenges of conducting such studies are matched by the potential opportunities to open a novel window onto our understanding of dementia. Initial findings from this research may eventually lead to studies that uncover novel mechanisms underlying cognitive decline, identify potential preventive or therapeutic approaches for individuals with dementia, offer more effective strategies for caregivers, and perhaps even expand our understanding of the nature of personhood and consciousness.

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