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Stroke

My brother

09/26/2006

Question:

My brother age 62 has had a major stroke, lost much of his sight,short term memory,and partial paralases of left side. He has been getting accupuncture for the past 2 months @ 5 days ,then 3 days per week with a nominal amount of help.He can walk with assistance,sight is still minimal,and is just beginning to recoup partial memory.Short term is not good. My question is; In your opinion, could the drug Arecept,Aricett help this person?

Answer:

Please see answer to previous question.  Loss of short term memory, and particularly lack of concentration, are common symptoms of depression.  Depression is very common after stroke, affecting up to 50% of patients.  Treating depression has been shown to improve recovery.  Depression must be carefully looked for and treated before considering any other potential treatments for "vascular dementia", or the dementia caused by stroke (usually several strokes).  There are other causes for poor memory, such as low grade chronic infections, metabolic problems, etc.  All of these "treatable" causes must be carefully looked for before diagnosing vascular dementia.

There is little evidence that vascular dementia is improved by treating with drugs like Aricept, but it could be reasonably considered if there are no "treatable" causes of memory problems.  You should discuss with the doctors who care for him so that you understand the risks and benefits of any such 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