kgienk245gew Early symptoms of dementia may include mood and personality changes, but can racist comments mask the onset of devastating disease?
Anything is possible, say experts in the wake of an exclusive Barbara Walters interview with Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who said Sunday, "I -- in my opinion, I think he -- it's the onset of dementia."
Barbara Walters’ exclusive interview with Shelly Sterling
"The most universal sign of early dementia is not memory loss, but personality change," said Dr. Igor Galynker, associate chairman of research at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel in New York City, who has written several papers on dementia. "Two basic characteristics not related to memory are apathy and indifference or callousness. People become withdrawn and disinterested in other people to the point of being rude."
While family members may think, "My mother was really like that all along," Galynker said the changes like insensitivity and inappropriateness have "little to do with their personality before."
"Some of the nicest people become callous and tactless," he said. "The nastiest people, too."
The 80-year NBA co-owner has been at the center of scandal since an audiotape obtained by TMZ revealed him telling his personal assistant, V. Stiviano, not to encourage her relationship with African-Americans, including Magic Johnson, and to keep them away from the Los Angeles Clippers games.
Sterling's wife is currently estranged from the Clippers owner. She is also currently involved in a lawsuit against Stiviano.