Atlantic Fellow Cindy Weinstein as a child with her father, Jerry
Project Type - Pilot Projects, Artistic Initiatives

Finding the Right Words: a Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain

Exploring the emotional challenges of dementia and the neurology of brain disease
Northern America


"Finding the Right Words" is a book written for the general public that will help people understand the emotional challenges of dementia as well as the neurology of brain diseases. The book is based on Cindy's father's early onset Alzheimer's with the logopenic variant. The book is an attempt to find the right words for a disease that, in her father’s case, first took away his language. For some readers, the right words will be the ones about a daughter witnessing her father not knowing his wife of forty years. For others, the right words might be the ones that come from fiction or poetry. Still others will find the language of neurology most compelling.

Project Details

Each of the five chapters comprising Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain takes up one aspect of Cindy Weinstein’s father’s early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, including diagnosis, word finding, spatial orientation, behavior, and memory. The structure of the book is as follows: Cindy writes about a specific clinical presentation to which Bruce responds with a discussion of the neurology behind that presentation. This approach is innovative and interdisciplinary, combining the experience of a daughter and an English professor with the expertise of a neurologist. As the book unfolds, the perspectives of the humanities and the sciences inform one another, and the voices of the literary critic and doctor harmonize to help readers understand the complexities of this disease and the grief that many will experience.


You can find more information about the book, Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain, is available at An audio version of the book is available here.


*Videos for are included below