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Alzheimer's Disease

Head Injury and Dementia

02/06/2006

Question:

I live in North Wales in the UK in a very isolated spot and with few health services. I have noticed quite marked changes in my once 59 year old partner. He had been involved in a road accident with severe brain injury in 1971. Despite this he managed to complete his postgraduate studies in history. The problem began when he began to suffer major seizures some years afterwards. Sadly by the time these came under proper control further damage to his brain had occurred and he began to show signs of reduced intellectual ability over many years. Eventually he was referred back to the head-injury unit for more tests and a possible progressive dementia has been suggested. The neurologist is not prepared to give a positive diagnoses for another six months but I know that the results would be event more serious than just the onset of dementia. I think this is very cruel as valuable time will be lost during this period. How can I speed up the diagnoses time before six months?!

Answer:

I suggest that he urgently be evaluated by a neurologist or neurosurgeon to consider the diagnosis of normal pressure hydrocephalus (as well as others).  The matter is very important and should not be delayed!

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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