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Alzheimer's Disease

CT Scan Results and Alzheimer's Disease

01/27/2006

Question:

My mother has been living with me for eight years. During that time I have noticed an increasing decline in her cognitive abilities, requiring me to work from home to care for her the last three years. She often fails to recognize me as her youngest son, yet with directed questioning she can recall who I am, only to forget minutes later. Recently she has a CT scan with and without contrast and the impression from that scan reads "mild atrophy with periventricular white matter disease" and "no acute infarct or mass lesions." Does this impression serve to indicate Alzheimer`s Disease (AD)? Thank you.

Answer:

The story is compatible with Alzheimer's disease.  I would have to know her age and blood test results (blood count, enzymes, electrolytes, thyroid tests, b21 level) before a diagnosis could be made.  She would also need to be examined by a physician and a history of present and past illnesses must be obtained.  The evaluation is important to ensure that other forms of possibly reversible dementia are not present and that the proper plan of care is developed.

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Response by:

Robert P Friedland, MD Robert P Friedland, MD
Formerly, Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University