Topics » Health   Feb. 22, 2012

Are Oscars Nominees' Health Plots Accurate or Malpractice?

'The Iron Lady'

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Photo: The Weinstein Company

'The Artist''The Descendants''Extremely Loud''War Horse''Midnight in Paris''Jane Eyre''The Help''A Cat in Paris''Hugo''The Iron Lady'

'The Iron Lady'

Dr. Markel says: "The main plot device of this biopic of Margaret Thatcher is to intersperse her life's victories with the Alzheimer-type dementia that marked her final years. As Thatcher, brilliantly played by Meryl Streep, moves in and out of that foggy state, the audience is entranced by both the remarkable accomplishments and the cruel fate she endured in old age. "The portrayal of her dementia will be all too familiar for anyone taking care of an aging parent with Alzheimer's and similar impairments.

The character displays textbook dementia -- the memory losses, the hallucinations, talking to 'ghosts' that are not there, moments of clarity interrupted by paranoia, a lack of understanding where one is. And, of course, all early Alzheimer's patients deny, deny, deny anything is wrong because the reality is so devastating.

'Iron Lady' poignantly reminds us that no matter what station in life we may have occupied, we are all subject to the same diseases and tragedies."

Photo Essay

Photo Essay