Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Failure to diagnose NPH because of misdiagnosed Alzheimer's

Aging and memory loss seem to go hand-in-hand. What was I going to do? Where did I put that? But, when memory loss becomes more than just an occasional loss of your train of thought, there could be more going on. Everyone knows what it is and everyone hopes it won't affect their family: Alzheimer's disease.

Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer's. Once properly diagnosed, those with Alzheimer's and their family can expect the disease to worsen over time, affecting the memory, behavior and thought processes of the person with it. But, there may be hope for some of the 5 million people, in Pittsburgh and throughout the United States, who've been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease: you may not have it.

As many as 50,000 or more Alzheimer's patients may actually have been misdiagnosed. Experts estimate that 1 percent of Alzheimer's cases are actually another type of dementia, one that is curable: Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH).

A failure to diagnose NPH or a misdiagnosis of Alzheimer's delays treatment that can essentially 'flip the switch' on the NPH dementia, reversing the memory loss, personality changes and shuffle-like gait characteristic of the disease. In about an hour of surgery, a shunt can be placed in the affected area of the brain, allowing excess fluid on the brain to that causes NPH to drain.

For one Dallas, Texas couple, the news of NPH commonly being misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's was a life saver. They sought out a local neurosurgeon who, after additional testing, was able to confirm that the husband actually suffered from NPH, not Alzheimer's.

"It's a miracle... I tell you, it's a miracle," the NPH patient's wife said after he underwent a successful shunt implant. She had her husband back.

Source: CBSDFW.com, "GP Couple Helped By News Of Alzheimer's Misdiagnosis," Robbie Owens, January 27, 2012

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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