Mum having memory problems.. MRI says no signs of dementia

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by CathieL, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. CathieL

    CathieL Registered User

    Jan 1, 2015
    6
    Midlands
    My question to this wonderful forum is, is the MRI definitive? I am sure mum has some form of dementia starting, but the MRI scan shows normal age related shrinkage.... Could she still have dementia? She passes all the memory tests... But her short term memory is pretty dire.... They don't seem to test that
    Any help or information would be most welcome.
    Thanks :)
     
  2. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,850
    England
    When MIL had her first MRI scan some years ago this also showed only age-related shrinkage. She was diagnosed with vascular dementia based on her history of cardiac problems. There was no doubt she had dementia, it just couldn't be seen a screen.

    For her next scan 2 years ago the MH consultant asked for the scan to target Alzheimer's type damage because her family felt she had developed AD symptoms. The scan did show this type of damage but she is still only classified as having VasD with additional AD-typical brain damage.

    I don't think they can really tell for certain without physically examining the person's brain after death. Behaviour patterns, loss of function, memory tests, the general progressive decline, this all leads to a dementia diagnosis. The MRI may or may not provide extra information, especially if your mum is in the early stages.
     
  3. CathieL

    CathieL Registered User

    Jan 1, 2015
    6
    Midlands
    Thanks

    That helps... At the moment the real concern is her shocking short term memory... and dreadful diarrhoea . Mum's history would suggest vas dem... How can I get a diagnosis?
     
  4. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015
    178
    My mother was diagnosed without a scan

    My mother had a test with her GP 18 months ago and was quite poor on the memory test so was referred to the Older People's Mental Health Team who did further tests, though she was never offered a scan.

    In hindsight I first noticed signs two and a half years before then when she asked me to get things then asked why I gave them to her. It was very gradual at first, but now seems to be progressing rapidly. The family are often very astute at noticing changes.

    She did not accept she had a problem so refused to take medication for the Alzheimer's that may have helped slow the progression of the disease. Her neighbour, who accepts that she has Alzheimer's is on the medication and the disease has progressed much more slowly. Therefore it is worth asking her GP about medication.
     
  5. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    1,578
    Female
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    My Mums (74yrs) brain CT scan showed normal age related changes, however because of her poor short term memory, and MMSE score of 19/30 and other symptoms was diagnosed with dementia - early stage Alzheimers in July 2013.
    She has been on Donepezil since Jan 2014 at first 5mg, and then 10mg which disagreed with her so changed back to 5mg.
    He memory and cognitive decline is infinitely worse.

    My Dads (77yrs) brain CT scan showed moderate atrophy in both frontal lobes, ischemic changes ( due to smoking) and another area of damage which they attributed to his amateur boxing days.
    However despite memory tests, which he scored relative for his age they said he did not have dementia but Cognitive impairment.

    So in my case Dads brain is in worse shape than Mums, but Mums the one with dementia.
     
  6. CathieL

    CathieL Registered User

    Jan 1, 2015
    6
    Midlands
    Thanks Katrine, Emily and Linbrusco. Lin, how did the docs test your mums short term memory. All my mum has had so far is the test about dates, place, prime ministers and so on.... She reads the paper and
    can remember long term stuff quite well, but can't remember what she has said to me 10 mins ago or who she has seen. It seems to fade in and out... Is that normal?
     
  7. Owly

    Owly Registered User

    Jun 6, 2011
    538
    At the beginning, my Mum also had brain shrinkage, "but nothing else more significant", said the doctor. She had already reported memory problems to her GP, but was scanned when her memory worsened after a general anaesthetic. A few months later they referred her to the memory clinic where the dementia word was first spoken. About 6 months later, a doctor there declared, "I think there is something more" (without any further scan) and put her on Aricept. However, we don't actually know if she had Alzheimer's disease.

    3 years later, after a stroke, she had another scan. This time they said she had "extensive microvessel disease" or something similar. It didn't help that never drank enough, which seems to be a feature of worsening dementia.

    You could look up B Vitamins and their role in helping to prevent further brain shrinkage.
     
  8. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    1,578
    Female
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    Mum had had two MiniCog tests a year apart by her GP. This was just a basic what is the date, what day is it, PM of our country, being read a sentence, and being asked 5 mns later to recall the sentence, and also being told 5 words and having to recall them.
    Not long after the second test ( we had already noticed a decline in Mum ) she needed bowel surgery. After having a GA she was infinitely worse. Mum had had blood tests, and referred to Geritrician.
    He did the MMSE test which is out of 30. Mum scored 19.If you google MMSE it will show you the list of questions. It was actually quite sad to see now Mum couldn't answer or do the most basic of questions :(
    Whether thus is par for the course with all Geritricians but he did not want to know what Mum could no longer do, only if she had any behavioural problems. Apart from apathy, and anxiety she didn't. The Donepezil seems to have helped with the anxiety.
     
  9. Norfolkgirl

    Norfolkgirl Account Closed

    Jul 18, 2012
    514
    #9 Norfolkgirl, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
    I'd be interested to know how the actual tests were conducted by the Older People's Mental Health Team which I gather is different to the MMSE. Did they give you an insight?
     

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