What if it isn't Alzheimer's

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by Asthoreen, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Asthoreen

    Asthoreen Registered User

    Mar 31, 2015
    My husband Frank ,was diagnosed with dementIa just over a year ago.The consultant thought it was probably Alzheimer's and prescribed Aricept.Having read various information on the internet(probably not a good idea) I am wondering if he may in fact have frontal temporal dementia rather than Alzheimer's .Frank's performance on the memory test,was I thought bizarre.He had no trouble with things like the date ,the PM,counting backwards in 3s the clock face and many other parts,but the parts he failed he did so spectacularly .Think of as many words as possible beginning with P he thought of three,Pope perpendicular and peculiar?Name as many animals as you can only four and all unusual ones.He couldn't remember any of the address at all.His memory doesn't seem any worse over the last year ,since being on the Aricept ,but I have noticed a marked decline in other areas.He seems to have no idea of the passage of time,can't concentrate,lost all ability to plan or carry out jobs,he spends most days tidying his shed( in his mind the imagined disorder of the shed is the root of all his troubles)His paranoia is worsening,someone is always recording rubbish on the TiVo box,hiding things he just put down,going in his drawers,cupboard,Wardrobe
    (There is only the two of us in the house)Just wondering really is Aricept used for other types of dementia? If not could it be having a detrimental effect if he doesn't have Alzheimer's ?

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    #2 Beate, Apr 26, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
    I have no idea if your OH might have FTD but just to say that my OH was diagnosed with Alzheimer's four years ago and at the beginning had no problem with counting or drawing a clock face while the memory questions were a disaster. "Name as many animals as you can in a minute." "Erm, dogs, cats.... And... Dogs?"

    Aricept can have some side effects but is usually tolerated well. I shouldn't think it would harm someone with a different form of dementia, just not have any real effect. Then again, it's debatable what effect it actually has on people with Alzheimer's. The best it can do is slow the disease down but your OH will still decline over time - some faster than others.

    If you think he should be properly tested again, get in touch with the memory clinic/consultant that did the original diagnosis.

    Here are two fact sheets about Alzheimer's and FTD:
  3. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    In the end, you are dealing with the condition and how it is represented on an indiviual level which differs with each sufferer whatever the actual cause.

    My husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia based on his history of long-term diabetes and resulting peripheral artery disease. He was given Aricept, (donapezil) just in case Alzheimer's was present as well but no scan. He suffered no ill effects from the Aricept. what side effects there are are obvious pretty soon I believe and my husband did find that it helped his mood - described it as a weight lifting - whether he had Alzheimer's or not.
  4. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    You have just described my husband with just a small difference, he spent hours in the garage tidying the tidying he did the day before. He has Alzheimer's .
  5. Hellyg

    Hellyg Registered User

    Nov 18, 2014

    We are in a similar position as in my husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's in November 2014, however they now suspect FTD.

    Our consultant at the memmory clinic, when I asked what were the benefits for us of doing another 4 hours of tests just to give a different label to the symptoms he has (more questions which he doesn't understand for my husband and the stress which comes with it) was that donzepil could make FTD worse, in that it could cause aggression.

    My husbands symptoms are in someway similar to your husbands, in that he can handle numbers and dates, he doesn't seem to forget a date, he could draw a clock once he understood the question as he didn't understand what a clock was or why he was being asked to draw one (fair point if you don't understand why you are being tested, why is stranger asking you to draw a clock a and draw a time on it...). It is decisions and very much language he struggles with, language influences so much so many aspects of life are affected. Also strange is his memory, he can remember things he does regularly after repeatly showing him, to the extent it then becomes an obsession, he can also remember things from years ago. For him it is information in the middle that seems to be the issue, I.e if something is routine but then doesn't happen for a week it is gone and forgotten.

    I have no idea now if it is alzheimers or FTD but have decided that either way it is a label for the symptons which are what they are regardless of what label is assigned. However what i want to say after rambling on (sorry) is that I understand what you are going through.

    H x
  6. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    #6 Linbrusco, Apr 26, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
    My Dad 77 was diagnosed with cognitive impairment but not dementia by our Memory Team last year. This was after a brain CT, blood tests, questionnaires by me, and 3 hrs of testing. They said his memory was not bad for his age, but defitely cognitive impairment and especially visuo spatial awareness.
    In fact Dads CT scan was worse than Mums with Alzheimers.
    He had significant frontal lobe atrophy, small vessel disease and another area of concern.
    Could be his early years of boxing combined with smoking they said.

    To me, I have suspected FTD for a long time. His behaviour is bordering on bizarre.

    Always in the right never in the wrong.
    Denies all knowledge of events even if hes the one at fault.
    Shows little emotion.
    Shows lack of social graces.
    Dad has two moods... Anger or being jovial. ( one extreme to the other)
    Talks in rhymes or makes noises
    Cannot join in general conversation, (especially group conversation) but if he hears a certain word, he will make a rhyming joke.
    When he does talk will jump from one topic to another, so you cannot make sense iof what hes talking about.
    When in a certain mood he will not speak but will use his version of sign language.
    Lately he has started to repeat himself more.

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