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Alzheimer's Disease

Moderate Atrophy of the Brain

08/03/2011

Question:

My 89 year old father’s gait rapidly deteriorated from being able to walk slowly while unaided, to shuffling slowly with a wheeled walker and having difficulty in sitting and arising. A head CT was done, and I was told the results showed no hydrocephalus (which was suspected) and moderate atrophy.

Could the moderate atrophy cause this sudden gait change? Also, at age 89 what is the significance of moderate atrophy? He had his first known TIA less than a month ago. Thanks.

Answer:

There are many potential causes of gait changes. Your father's physician would be able to tell you the most likely causes.

Moderate atrophy by itself is not the reason for the gait disturbance. Atrophy does occur with aging but without seeing the scan it is impossible to say if his atrophy is more than normal aging.

Evaluating for cognitive changes may also be important to sort out the causes of his condition.

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Go to the Alzheimer's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Douglas W Scharre, MD Douglas W Scharre, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University