Alzheimer’s misdiagnosis common among dementia patients

Alzheimer’s disease has become nearly synonymous with dementia, but memory loss among older adults can arise for different reasons. Multiple forms of dementia exist, and a recent study explored the connection between traumatic brain injuries and memory disruption among the elderly. The researchers noted that the correct identification of the source of memory loss was crucial for providing appropriate care for memory patients in New Jersey and elsewhere. They estimated that roughly 21% of Alzheimer’s patients had been misdiagnosed.

The university researchers evaluated MRI scans of 40 older adults who had experienced traumatic brain injuries and later lost memory function. Their study of the scans determined that TBI most often damaged the ventral diencephalon, where the brain manages learning and emotions. In Alzheimer’s patients, their hippocampus usually suffers the most damage. That brain region controls memory and emotions.

The researchers hope that their study will improve diagnostics for people with memory problems. Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be very upsetting for individuals and their families. When the diagnosis is not correct, then people might miss treatment opportunities. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, as many as 40% of dementia patients have a condition other than Alzheimer’s.

A person relies on medical professionals to make an accurate diagnosis. A misdiagnosis might lead to inappropriate or even harmful treatments. A delay of proper care might worsen someone’s condition and inflict financial damages in the form of high medical expenses. A person or family reeling from the effects of a medical mistake might explore the possibility of a medical malpractice claim with an attorney. Strict legal standards apply to medical cases, and an attorney might gather sufficient independent medical testimony to build a lawsuit against a physician or hospital.

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