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Does a CT detect Alzheimer's


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Old 09-12-2013, 05:22 AM   #1
valerie2013
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Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

My 68 year old dad is still in the process of getting diagnosed.
The last couple of months he has gotten a lot worse.
His Psychiatrist suspects Alzheimer's and has ordered at CT.
What does the CT look for?

 
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:46 AM   #2
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Re: Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

Valerie, a CT (computed tomography) scan is a fancy x-ray which uses computer technology to produce a layered image (slices) of the brain rather than just showing a single flat image. It makes it much easier to see what is going on in the brain.

As for what they might see on a CT scan, as lay people we may not see much. Yet those that read the CT scans can tell much. They will be able to tell if there are areas of reduced blood flow or blockages which is one of the indicators of Vascular Dementia. They can see evidence of past strokes. They can see atrophy (brain shrinkage) which is one of the indicators of later Alzheimer's. They will be able to tell if there are tumors or other growths. My bet is they are looking to rule out other reasons for your Dad's condition. That is basically how they diagnose Alzheimer's... they rule out everything else that can cause that set of symptoms.

It is a noninvasive look into the brain and very beneficial in determining what is going on in there.

I do hope you get a diagnosis soon. It is a long process and can be frustrating. Yet it is better to know what you are facing than to remain in the dark no knowing I am sorry you are having to deal with this disease but glad you are here. If you have any other questions, or just need to vent, please feel free!.

Love, deb

 
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:58 PM   #3
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Re: Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

Thanks Deb.

He has a CT on Monday so hopefully we get some answers.

 
Old 09-12-2013, 09:24 PM   #4
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Re: Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

Valerie, I also hope you get some answers.... let me know what you find out

Love, deb

 
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Old 09-13-2013, 12:04 PM   #5
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Re: Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

Remember that a CT can confirm the existence of the disease. However, a negative CT does not automatically mean the absence of the disease.

 
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Old 09-19-2013, 11:54 PM   #6
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Re: Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

Results are back from the CT.
It shows Hydrocephalus...Fluid on the brain.
The DR thinks this might be the problem.
I have to make an appointment on Monday to see a specialist.

 
Old 09-20-2013, 07:30 AM   #7
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Re: Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

valerie... NPH Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus is an under diagnosed disease that is, in many cases, fixable. The three tell tell symptoms of NPH are gait (walking) difficulties, dementia, and urinary incontinence. The difference between NPH and some other causes of dementia is that NPH (especially if caught early) can be treated. Usually they place a one way shut which allows the excess fluids to drain. Without those fluids, which causes pressure on the ventricles, the patient has a good chance of returning to normal or at least significantly improving. This is actually good news for you and your hubby

This is one reason you always need to go through the diagnostic process even though it is long and frustrating!! Remember that Dementia is not a disease, it is a symptom!! It is like diagnosing you with a fever. Knowing the underlying cause of the symptom is what leads you to the right treatment!

Love, deb

 
Old 09-20-2013, 04:48 PM   #8
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Re: Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

Thank Deb

Its actually my dad.

We have noticed the last year or so that he seemed to drag his feet when he walked but l always thought his knees were sore. He never admits to having any health problems...he hides everything.

A year ago he fell and hit his head. I wonder if that started all this.

I know all about ventricles and shunts as my hubby has a brain tumor.

My only concern is why has he been referred to a Neurologist instead of a Neurosurgeon. Won't this delayed surgery.

Thanks again Deb your advice is always helpful.

Last edited by valerie2013; 09-20-2013 at 04:54 PM.

 
Old 09-20-2013, 07:55 PM   #9
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Re: Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

Valerie, I do believe that some head injuries can lead to fluid disruptions which can lead to NPH. Not saying your Dad's fall is the reason because it can happen without falls but it's possible. Yes, the shuffling feet is definitely a sign of NPH... along with the dementia and urinary incontinence. They don't have to have all three but all three are common and typical.

As far as the doctor referral... I am sure they are looking for a definitive diagnosis. I am not sure why the neurologist is the first stop but like you I would expect the neurosurgeon to be the last stop. I would ask the referring doctor why he chose that particular route... just for clarification.

Not that I wish NPH for your Dad... but I wish for it to be NPH and not one of the other diagnosis

Love, deb

 
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:01 AM   #10
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Re: Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

My dads psychiatrist sent him for an MRI. The MRI shows that the fluid isn't that bad.There is evidence of a few mini strokes. And he said there was some shrinkage which was normal as we age but his was probably a bit worse. He has referred him for some memory tests, which probably won't get done for a few months as there is a long waiting list. So at the moment he still has no diagnosis.

I forgot to ask him at what stage do we take the car off him. I'm worried about him being on the road but also worried he'll go downhill faster if he hasn't got his car.
Right now he's only driving with my mum in the car and not far at all.

 
Old 10-08-2013, 01:31 PM   #11
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Re: Does a CT detect Alzheimer's

An MRI will give a better view of what is going on in the brain than the CT scan. Several things there can point to symptoms that are consistent with different dementia. Fluid on the brain is there, though he says "not that bad". I do wonder what "not that bad" means. I am sure a comparison would be better to see if it is increasing, staying the same, or decreasing. The evidence of the mini strokes could be indicative of a vascular problem which can or has lead to Vascular Dementia. As for the shrinkage, there is a normal minimal shrinkage that starts at about 40 years old. Daily exercise, mentally and physically, can slow this shrinkage. But shrinkage is also a classic symptom of Alzheimer's and other Dementia. Again, it is a matter of degree and it is helpful to have a comparison to see how fast it is progressing. I was able to look at Dad's CT scan near the end of his journey with Vascular Dementia. The Neurologist guided me through what I was seeing. Instead of a healthy brain CT, Dad's looked a bit more like dried out swiss cheese, smaller with voids where brain matter should be. But this was long after his diagnosis was obvious! Actually the cognitive/memory testing is probably the best way to go at this point. Mom's CT showed shrinkage as well. I had the benefit of a previous CT that showed the shrinkage was progressive. But it was the cognitive/memory testing that actually gave us what we needed to make a definitive diagnosis. It is a process. It is not something you can get in a day. You have to rule out every other reason for the dementia because there is no definitive test for any type of dementia. Then you get comparisons to determine progression. It took 9 months to get a definitive diagnosis on Mom. Dad was actually a bit longer. He was misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's but after a few years it was obvious that he had Vascular Dementia. So you are on the right track If possible, call the memory testing office and tell them, if they have a cancellation that you would be willing to come in on short notice. They want to fill those slots and it might get you in early

Love, Deb

 
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