Nov 14, 2012

Expert Answers Questions from the Alzheimer's Community

Alzheimer's expert Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a psychiatry professor at Duke University Medical Center, and author of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan is answering questions about Alzheimer's on the New York Times website.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Expert Answers Questions from the Alzheimer's Community
Murali Doraiswamy
Part one, Answers About Alzheimer’s is now up and available on the New York Times website.

I hope you will go over and take the time to peruse some of the questions.

The answers to the questions are informative and educational. The questions are excellent and sometimes fascinating.

Many of the question being answered are questions I often receive via email. In this case, the answers to medical, diagnostic, treatment, genetic, and questions about Alzheimer's and heredity are being answered by one of the top experts in the country.

You will also find important advice in some of the answers.

Please consider sharing the information with others in the Alzheimer's community.

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Pretty much everything you can imagine is being covered in the questions and answers. Here is one that caught my attention.

Q. My husband is newly diagnosed as “mildly cognitively impaired.” Should his neuropsychiatrist order an M.R.I.? Other tests? The only objective test so far has been a 30-question screening test. — Leslie Learman, Buffalo, N.Y.

A. At most centers, a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is made after a series of lab and memory tests, not after a single test. It is possible your doctor did those but you were not aware of it. The 30-question test is called the MMSE and it’s usually not adequate by itself to diagnose M.C.I.

M.C.I., like dementia, can be caused by many conditions some of which (e.g. depression, medication toxicity, vitamin deficiency, thyroid problems) can be reversible. 

More than a dozen common medications (e.g. sleeping pills, anxiety medications, statins, older antidepressants, antihistamines) have been linked to memory problems that are reversible.

Most specialized memory clinics do order an M.R.I. if a stroke or hydrocephalus or brain lesion is suspected as the cause. Lab tests such as thyroid and vitamin levels as well as depression screens may also be ordered.

Go here to read and learn - Answers About Alzheimer’s, Part 1, New York Times

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Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room