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When it may not be Alzheimer's disease

6:36 PM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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BRISTOLVILLE -- When you notice a loved one beginning to forget things, losing balance and showing serious signs of aging, we often think it could be Alzheimer's disease.

But there's a chance it could be a condition known as Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, or fluid on the brain. It happens when the ventricles, or "drains" in the brain that flush out the cerebral spinal fluid become clogged.

But there's a chance it could be a condition known as , or fluid on the brain. It happens when the ventricles, or "drains" in the brain that flush out the cerebral spinal fluid become clogged.

In older people it can come on gradually and with it have symptoms similar to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease or even stroke. It often causes the person to suffer dizziness and imbalance. Their gait becomes a shuffle and they find it difficult to pick up their feet. Urinary incontinence may be a symptom as is a lack of alertness and short term memory.

Cleveland Clinic Neurosurgeon, Dr. Mark Luciano, says 30 to 40 percent of his patients received a misdiagnosis. Often being told they have Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, but then the medication doesn't work.

While hydrocephalus is not common, it's important to discuss the possiblitity with a physician. A CT or MRI scan can detect if there's fluid on the brain. A spinal tap may remove some of that fluid and symptoms disappear. If that's the case, the patient may be a candidate for a shunt implanted in the brain to drain the fluid off.

But there's a chance it could be a condition known as , or fluid on the brain. It happens when the ventricles, or "drains" in the brain that flush out the cerebral spinal fluid become clogged. But there's a chance it could be a condition known as , or fluid on the brain. It happens when the ventricles, or "drains" in the brain that flush out the cerebral spinal fluid become clogged.

WKYC-TV

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