For years, as his memory faded, doctors told music legend Kris Kristofferson he had Alzheimer’s. He couldn’t remember his song lyrics. The 80-year-old star couldn’t even remember what he was doing from one moment to the next.1
Then, earlier this year, one of his doctors thought to test Kristofferson for Lyme disease. The test was positive.
His wife Lisa believes the medications he was on for Alzheimer’s actually caused his brain fog. “He was taking all these medications for things he doesn’t have,” she said. “And they all have side effects.”
‘The Son of a Bitch Is Back!’
After he gave up the Alzheimer’s pills, Kristofferson went through three weeks of Lyme disease treatment. The results were dramatic. Suddenly he was his old, quick-witted self.
“Oh, my God, the son of bitch is back!” his wife declared.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is crucial to make sure doctors got it right.
Fully a third of Alzheimer’s diagnoses are wrong, a shocking National Institutes of Health study found.2 That’s because more than 100 other conditions can mimic the disease. Many of them are readily treatable.3
Here are steps to take to ensure an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is correct:
- Get checked for a condition called normal pressure hydrocephalus. It’s estimated that about 5% of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s actually have this treatable condition.4 It is a buildup of brain fluid that causes thinking problems. When the fluid is removed, symptoms often disappear. “I’ve seen patients go from about to enter a nursing home, to playing golf again,” said Dr. Joseph Zabramski, a Phoenix neurosurgeon.
- Get an amyloid PET scan. This a relatively new screening. It can reveal protein buildup in the brain that is a marker of Alzheimer’s. Some people have amyloid buildup and never get Alzheimer’s. But a negative PET scan can rule out the disease.
- Get tested for a urinary tract infection. It can cause delirium in the elderly that doctors confuse with dementia.
- Get tested for herpes simplex virus type 1. For most people, this common infection causes only cold sores. But in a few patients, it can damage the hippocampus, causing memory loss.
- Have medications evaluated. Dozens of drugs have side effects that can mimic Alzheimer’s.
- Get a second opinion. This is crucial for any major diagnosis. But for Alzheimer’s it is even more important.
And there’s another thing you should know about Alzheimer’s.
Decades’ worth of study results show that a natural herb fights dementia. It’s completely safe. And it costs just pennies a day.
In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch
Image Credit: Charles Skyes/Invision/AP