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Stroke

Brain infection

08/21/2006

Question:

My mother is diagnosed as having brain infection. Here are her symptoms :

She had fever (around 101) from past 20 days. Slowly she started complaining about memory loss ( ie forgetting telephone nos, counting, prayers). Then she started mixing sentences ( mixing two sentences) and also making hmming sound while sitting idle or sleeping. Her confusion increased day by day. Then she passed urine on bed without realising. Today after almost 20 days she is not clear in her speech. She fumbles with word. Unable to write. Forgets things with in a minute. She is able to recognize me and my brother and even remember our names.

Her MIR report is almost clear except some blockage in her speech nerve. Her blood report revealed low sodium. So she was put in to sodium drip. Her sodium level is now almost normal. Bur her mental condition is detorating. What could be the possibilities. Thank you

Answer:

To have these symptoms properly diagnosed, your mother will need to see a health professional and will require a physical examination.  There are too many causes of "altered mental states" or "confusion" to reasonably list here.   Some are very serious (can be life threatening) while some are less serious and easily treated. 

In many cases, there is an underlying medical condition that can be treated, and then the confusion will resolve too.  A good example is a urinary tract infection or a pneumonia--these are common causes of fever in older people, and are it is not uncommon for confusion to be the most prominent symptom.  When treated with antibiotics, the confusion gets better.  Please work with your local physician to determine the proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Response by:

Brett   Kissela, MD Brett Kissela, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Neurology Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati