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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board
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Old 01-09-2005, 06:05 PM   #1
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Does an MRI show Alzheimer's?

My mother has been having memory loss for some time now. She has been to the doctors 3 or 4 times and each time they said she has depression and it's not Alzheimer's. She did go to a neurologist also and she claims that the only question he asked her is who is the president and he was not very thorough. She had an MRI which was normal and also blood tests were normal (I'm not exactly sure what the blood tests consisted of). So, I guess my question is, does a normal MRI mean that she does not have Alzheimer's? Or maybe it just hasn't progessed enough to show on MRI? She is so worried about this (I am too) and is going to the doctor again tomorrow.

Last edited by Mom22greatkids; 01-09-2005 at 06:23 PM.

 
Old 01-09-2005, 07:39 PM   #2
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Re: Does an MRI show Alzheimer's?

Hi Mom22!!

My MIL has had numerous MRI's and CAT scans, which show nothing but the usual old age degeneration, nothing to explain her behaviour !!!! This has been an ongoing argument for years!! Plus she has a speech problem, and I notice doctors tend to 'feed' her the answers to the mini mental (who is the president, what year is it?? etc etc).

The local lady here that looks after Day Care and Respite, did mention Multi-Infarct Dementia doesn't show up on scans, and some doctors refuse to 'commit' to a diagnosis without 'proof'. Last time I heard, it can only be proven through an autopsy, and my MIL is far from that!!

Multi Infarct Dementia comes from lots of little Transic Eschemic attacks, little brain neurons stop working for a minute and then wake up. Most people get them, but don't notice anything, you may be forgetful but you will remember. Infarct means death of tissue, so that relates to the neuron NOT working at all and dying. They are small enough NOT to show up on any type of scan.

Goodluck, hope this helps, and do let us know how you get on.

Cheers
Sally

 
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:35 PM   #3
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Re: Does an MRI show Alzheimer's?

Hi Friends, It seems all doctors all over the wolrd use the same mini IQ test! At my Mom's last examination she was also asked who the president is, and got it right. When she got home my cousin called, and Mom proudly told her "He asked me who the president was and I got it right - Ronald Reagan!" Between 2 PM and 6 PM she had already forgotten that it is George W. Bush. This is the same doctor who reassured us "It is not Alzheimer, just old age." But then he prescribed an Alzheimer medication. I think you are right about the post mortem exam being the only sure test. Meanwhile we have to treat her just as if it were ALZ because to all extents and purposes it is the same thing by any name.

Hang in there,

Martha

 
Old 01-10-2005, 05:39 PM   #4
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Re: Does an MRI show Alzheimer's?

Thanks for the replies. She has had least one TIA but that was about 8 years or more ago. Maybe she is having more that she is not aware of. She went to the doctor today and he is still insisting it is depression. He put her on a different antidepressant. I just hope the doctor is right.

 
Old 01-11-2005, 08:46 AM   #5
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Re: Does an MRI show Alzheimer's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom22greatkids
Thanks for the replies. She has had least one TIA but that was about 8 years or more ago. Maybe she is having more that she is not aware of. She went to the doctor today and he is still insisting it is depression. He put her on a different antidepressant. I just hope the doctor is right.
IMO, you should establish a health care POA and accompany her to doctor's visits. You need to know if she is getting competent care and what's really going on there. I speak from experience so I hope you can learn from my mistakes.

Now is the time...

BTW, comprehensive AD/dementia testing involves many cognitive and memory tests, as well as a physical assessment and family history. It takes a lot of time. Perhaps the doctor can refer you to an AD center in your area. They catch the phsyical stuff too, so she can be referred to the proper specialist for treatment...

Pat

 
Old 01-11-2005, 10:03 AM   #6
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Re: Does an MRI show Alzheimer's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by camachinist
IMO, you should establish a health care POA and accompany her to doctor's visits. You need to know if she is getting competent care and what's really going on there. I speak from experience so I hope you can learn from my mistakes.

Now is the time...

BTW, comprehensive AD/dementia testing involves many cognitive and memory tests, as well as a physical assessment and family history. It takes a lot of time. Perhaps the doctor can refer you to an AD center in your area. They catch the phsyical stuff too, so she can be referred to the proper specialist for treatment...

Pat
I have asked to go with her several times but she refuses. She said he spent 45 to 50 minutes with her and I helped her write everything down that was concerning. She gave the paper to him to read so she wouldn't forget anything. He went over everything on that paper. He also told her that the MRI would have shown something but it was normal. She has another appointment in two weeks so I'll be more persistant.

 
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