False positive Alzheimer’s diagnosis

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Treatable Conditions that Mimic Dementia – AARP.  I am so pleased that AARP published this article about false positives for Alzheimer’s disease.  Because of the high incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, we have all become very sensitive to any abnormal cognitive challenges in our lives.  A few people have said to me, “I keep losing my keys.  I forget where I place them.  Do I have Alzheimer’s?”  I’m not a medical professional but I have been trained by several in the profession.  Teepa Snow, one of America’s leading educators on dementia, had this response to that type of question, and I paraphrase:

If you forget where you’ve put down your keys, you may not have dementia.  If you forget what they are or what they’re used for, you could very well have dementia.

Several years ago I underwent extensive neurological testing due to troubling cognitive symptoms.  Turns out, the cause was a medication I was taking.  Once I went off the med, I was 100% fine.
Several years ago I underwent extensive neurological testing due to troubling cognitive symptoms. Turns out, the cause was a medication I was taking. Once I went off the med, I was 100% fine.

The attached AARP article provides possible reasons for cognitive abnormalities that are not Alzheimer’s disease: medication, urinary tract infection (UTI), diabetes, thyroid, and depression to name a few.  That being the case, even if you forget what the car keys are for, you still may not have Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

In my attached article, Medications: harbinger of cognitive decline? I address just one of the causes for a false positive Alzheimer’s diagnosis.  Please read that article, to be sure, but also read the attached piece by AARP.  You deserve to have peace of mind by finding out if your symptoms, or those of a loved one, are reversible.  And by all means, be bold enough to demand that your treating physician rule out all other possible conditions before putting you through the grueling neurological testing that many physicians prescribe as first steps, rather than the last resort when determining the cause of a patient’s cognitive decline.

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One thought on “False positive Alzheimer’s diagnosis

    jigsmoore said:
    April 11, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I tried to give up smoking and use Zyban for three days. Face swelled up and I could not recite my address. Hospital would not confirm that this was the problem but said it was plant allergy plus ear problems which I did not have! Same had happened to my brother abroad two months earlier which I knew nothing of. After stopping the tabs I regained all memory a week later apart from not being able to remember names now until properly learnt, when I do recall.. I am convinced that taking many medications together as some people have to is not good for your health.My doctor wanted me to test my theory by taking it again – no way!

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