My father is in the mid-stages of Alzheimer’s disease/dementia. He has been experiencing a terrible “heat feeling” on the top of his head. He does not run a fever when this happens. He just kind of stares off into space and then he grabs his head and starts crying. He says it feels like his head is going to explode. He has been to the hospital for this issue; however, because of a pacemaker he cannot have an MRI. Does this sensation sound normal for an Alzheimer’s patient? [ 11/09/12 ]
First, I would look at his medications. If he is taking niacin, or another medication that increases blood flow to the skin, the heat sensation could be related to that medication. Next, consider whether he could be anxious. See when the heat feeling occurs and whether it follows particular stresses or frustrations. Finally, there is a small chance this would represent a focal seizure or other neurological problem that can be addressed by a neurologist.
What is the karyotype for Alzheimer’s disease? [ 10/17/12 ]
The term “karyotype” means a description of the number and appearance (under a microscope) of the chromosomes in a cell nucleus. Alzheimer's disease heritability is influenced by genes, but for most patients with AD the karyotype would not look different from that of someone without the disease.
One important exception is in people with Down syndrome. In this disease, there is an abnormal karyotype that includes 3 copies of chromosome 21 (trisomy). People with Down syndrome are much more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those in the general population.
I cut the hair of a 77-year-old lady with Alzheimer's disease. I believe that she is the second stage of the disease. I recently noticed when cutting her hair, that the part of her skull in the back and near the top seems to be sunken in a little. Her daughter replied that is related to the Alzheimer’s disease. Is this a normal part of the disease process? [ 10/17/12 ]
Alzheimer's disease does not typically affect the shape of the skull. Brain size often decreases as the disease progresses; however, this is not reflected by any change in the bones of the skull.
Does a stroke impede the growth of plaque on the brain? If so, can the early detection of the disease be halted by mimicking a stroke localized around the plaque? [ 10/17/12 ]
The presence of a stroke actually increases rather than decreases the formation of plaques, and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to mimic a stroke around a plaque.
My mother had been suffering from Alzheimer disease for six years. She started taking Exelon; then her doctor changed the medication to Aricept (donepezil), and finally Reminyl (galantamine) in combination with Ebixa (memantine). In addition to these drugs, she takes heart medicines, including Furosemide, Lanoxin, and Levothyroxine. Unfortunately, she died six month ago as a result of her ascites. In my opinion, the ascites occurred due to malfunctioning kidneys, as a result of the Alzheimer’s medications that she was taking. Your “Frequently Asked Questions” section of the website indicates that, on average, patients with Alzheimer`s disease live eight to ten years after diagnosis. How long does Alzheimer`s disease last, on average, for patients if they do not take the conventional treatments. Thank you in advance for your kind assistance. [ 10/17/12 ]
I am sorry for your loss, and many grieving individuals question whether medications prescribed during a terminal illness were more harmful than beneficial. The medications for Alzheimer's disease are not thought to either decrease or increase survival time; however, quality of life is modestly improved for some affected people and their caregivers. Ascites is more typically caused by liver failure than by malfunctioning kidneys, and it is more often the case that malfunctioning kidneys alter the effects of medications rather than vice versa.
Has the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease increased in recent decades? [ 10/17/12 ]
By far, the most important risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is advancing age. With increased longevity, both the incidence (number of new cases per year) and prevalence (number of cases altogether) have increased greatly. Currently, an estimated 5.4 million suffer from Alzheimer's disease in the United States. The number of adults aged 65 years and older is expected to more than double between 2010 and 2050. An especially large increase will occur in the very elderly.
I was wondering if there was any research into geographic clusters of Alzheimer’s disease. My late mother was diagnosed with this brain disorder and she had mentioned two other people in her apartment building also had the disease. [ 09/20/12 ]
If your mother's apartment building houses many elderly residents, age may be a more important factor than location; however, there have been attempts to study geographical clustering of AD in order to understand the causes of this brain disease more fully. Many researchers have wondered whether location determines exposure to a risk factor in the environment. Other experts have wondered if the geographic clustering may represent to some degree variations in physicians' diagnostic procedures, reporting practices, and medical opinions. So far, though, there appears to be no universal explanation for the observed clustering that raises questions such as yours.
My mom is 71 years old and has been diagnosed with non-Alzheimer’s dementia three months ago. What exactly does this mean? Her mental capacity seems to be fine. Her only symptom is "halted speech." Our family feels that her symptoms more resemble a stroke. Should we seek a second opinion? What should we expect in the days to come? She is in good health and continues to live a normal life, except she has somewhat distanced herself because she is not able to speak. [ 09/18/12 ]
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, but there are many other conditions that interfere with memory, reasoning, language, visual and spatial orientation, and other cognitive abilities. All the other causes, grouped together, are non-Alzheimer's dementia. Many of the patients with non-Alzheimer's dementia have vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, or one of the frontotemporal dementias. If your mother's mental capacity is indeed “fine” and halted speech is her only symptom, a vascular cause may be the explanation for her symptom. It would certainly be reasonable to seek another opinion, this time from a neurologist with expertise in strokes.