Dementia, a broad category of brain diseases including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, affects millions of people worldwide. Although its impact is primarily focused on populations of Western countries, orthodox medicine has not been able to discover the causes of dementia, let alone develop successful treatments or a cure. Given this situation, there are good reasons to investigate the psycho-spiritual factors connected to the outbreak of the illness. As the author states in her Preface: 'The conception of man that is given priority today by the scientific world hardly takes into account that in addition to the physical-material component, for which certain degenerative or pathological processes can be determined with the help of technical apparatus, there are other components of his being to be taken into account which cannot be investigated in that way. So long as the cause of an illness is not sought in connection with those spiritual components of the human being, a successful treatment of the patient cannot be assured.' Developing successful methods of treatment requires a full understanding of the human being.This can not be achieved through observation with the outer senses only, but increasingly calls for spiritual-scientific perception.
Through this method, as founded by Rudolf Steiner, great service can be rendered to humanity, including precise research into the causes of ill-health. The factors involved in the eruption of modern afflictions, such as dementia, can be determined by careful consideration of humanity's - as well as the individual's - destiny. In this succinct but rich study, Judith von Halle describes her investigations into the phenomenon of dementia, beginning with a general outline of the anthroposophical conception of the human being and society, and applying that knowledge to what today is increasingly referred to as an epidemic. This book does not demand medical expertise, but requires an effort to engage with the psycho-spiritual conditions of dementia sufferers. It provides a wealth of insights and guidance to approaching one of the greatest challenges of our time.