What One Vermonter Found When Her Husband Lost His Memory

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Vermont psychologist Polly Young-Eisendrath remembers all the questions she aimed at her husband: Why had he racked up some $70,000 in unexplained credit card bills; written another $57,000 in checks to himself from their joint account; and, most disturbingly, anxiously defied her repeated call for answers?

"The bottom has dropped out of everything that promised security in my life," she recalls thinking. "I no longer can count on marriage, finances and any vestiges of control over my circumstances."

Then Young-Eisendrath learned that her husband, Ed Epstein, had early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

For some, the brain ailment is simply a plot point in dramas such as Still Alice, the current film in which Oscar front-runner Julianne Moore portrays a fiftysomething professor losing her memory. But for an estimated 200,000 Americans, depictions of that impairment hit painfully close to home.