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Guest kate35

Alzheimer's or Korsakoff's Syndrome?

8 posts in this topic

Would it be possible for the two of these to be confused? If a patient has a history of alcohol abuse yet the PET scan says it is an Alzheimer type could this indicate a misdiagnosis? Are the scans similar or different in comparison?

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depends on how much alcohol the person was drinking in his longitudinal history.

also, both can contribute to demetia process.

basically the symptoms of demetia remain the same[except--more recent memory loss in korsakoffs ]and also loss of personality is more in alzheimers.

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Thanks for the reply, its just i read somewhere on the Alzheimer's Organisation website that the two could be 'confused' depending on the experience of the consultant involved.

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:'( i feel sorry for your dilema There have been a number of neuroimaging studies of the Korsakoff syndrome. CT scan studies indicated a general degree of cortical atrophy, particularly involving the frontal lobes. MRI studies have indicated more specific atrophy in diencephalic structures(thalamus,hypothalamus and epithalamus). The findings in SPECT and PET studies have been more variable, some showing widespread hypoperfusion and hypometabolism, other studies showing very little change relative to healthy controls, but (usually) some degree of frontal hypometabolism.

‘Short-term memory', in the sense that psychologists employ it, is intact but learning over more prolonged periods is severely impaired, and there is usually a retrograde memory loss which characteristically extends back many years or decades.Korsakoff himself noted that his patients ‘reason about everything perfectly well, draw correct deductions from given premises, make witty remarks, play chess or a game of cards, in a word comfort themselves as mentally sound persons'.However, he also noted repetitive questioning, the extensive nature of the retrograde memory loss, and a particular problem in remembering the temporal sequence of events, associated with severe disorientation in time he gave examples of confabulation reflecting the problem with the temporal sequence memory, such that real memories were jumbled up and retrieved inappropriately, out of temporal context.

if your dad had a extensive history of drinking the above diagnosis would seem attractive, >:( i guess you are angry and trying every avenue to get to this arse of a consultant who will not listen to you. good luck

???the webmaster may have ideas if you live in england,in scotland patients carers have to be involved with the descision making.

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Sounds like a tricky situation...

The main advantages of assuming an alzheimers component is it allows the licenced prescribing of cholinesterase inhibitors etc, if appropriate. Likewise there is no harm in prescribing thiamine if alcohol may be an issue.

It would be worth having a meeting with the Consultant to see what he/she thinks, remembering that there are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers and that you both have the same agenda - what's best for the patient and their relatives.

The main problem could be suitability of support and placements available. Many placements and support packages are excellent, but often with patients with behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia, this can be a very difficult area... Make sure the carers have all the support that they need too...

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Sorry to derail what appears to be a very intellectual discussion on an interesting topic but what the hell are you doing writing posts on the difference between Alzheimer's and Wernickes at 2:30 am Admiral- are you a total insomniac, have an insatiable interest in dementai that leaves you lying awake at night or were you just checking to see if the most recent results of an exam were on the internet yet.

I do worry about my colleagues- it keeps ME awake at night!

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Thanks for all the postings! Some very useful information there which i have made note of. They seem to be taking excellent care of Dad at present and he is awaiting assessment for a long term placement.

Good luck for your exam results by the way! :)

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Kate - glad things seem to be working out - it's an awful illness, but with support, you can all feel you're doing everything you can - well done :)

Steve - I was, of course, in the roof top pool of my penthouse suite in San Fransisco when I posted my last message, sipping a pina colada before my evening meal - so don't worry about me, mate ;-)

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