Nov 17, 2012

Alternative to Dementia Diagnosis

"About 30% of my NPH patients were told they had Alzheimer's or Parkinson's", Mark Luciano, M.D. Cleveland Clinic

An interesting article about normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), which can mimic the characteristics of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and which is treatable.  The Hydrocephalus Association estimates that at least 350,000 Americans -- and 5% of people with dementia -- have NPH.  Surgery -- placing a shunt in the brain -- can cure this disorder.  Another good reason to have your person with dementia have a very thorough physical workup to rule out not only NPH, but also depression, metabolic disorders, etc.  People with NPH can have problems with memory, walking and bladder control.  It is often misdiagnosed.  A good medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause of dementia includes physical exam, lab work, perhaps MRI's or CAT scans, neurological/psychological testing -- at a minimum.  Let's be sure we are not dealing with something that is treatable. 

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