Were This "Alzheimer" Patient's Cognitive Issues Caused By Latent Infection & Nutrient Deficiencies?
Updated: Apr 29
The death certificate mentions nothing of this. And yet not one of the countless medical centers or specialists in whose expertise we entrusted his care-- the #VA, the world renown #ClevelandClinic, our local outpost of the new massive corporate health conglomerate (Doesn't every town seem to have one (or two or three) these days?) from 2008 when his symptoms first presented to 2015 when he was signed over to a profit-maximizing elder care prison (yes, cue the "I Care A Lot" trailer) where he would spend his last years, nourished on food that arrived pre-prepared, heat-up-able ready, in huge plastic bags from a corporate conglomerate, languishing naked but for a disposable diaper, fetal position, every spark of joy and mischief beaten out of him by serial disappointment, staring at a wall, abandoned-- thought to check something so fundamental as nutrient levels & latent infections.
Only later (isn't that always the way?) did we learn the things to check on: protein digestion (for the amino acid precursors to neurotransmitters as well as for the required substrates for Phase II liver detoxification), essential fatty acid sufficiency (think cell membranes), fungal and bacterial overgrowths in the gut, vitamin and mineral levels (especially the all important ones like magnesium, zinc, B12 and B6).
Unfortunately we have to expect that 99% of doctors won't think to consider these things. And we "lay" folks, even if it is our flesh and blood and worse than losing an arm or leg because we also have the daily/nightly stress, regret, guilt, anxiety of having to figure out how to support while at the same time remaining afloat in our own lives, are left to putting together the puzzle, Murder She Wrote or Colombo-like.
It is estimated that as many as one out of every three "Alzheimer" diagnoses are actually something else. It's just a convenient, catch-all diagnosis (most doctors don't have time to think-- certainly most that accept your in-network insurance, Medicare or Medicaid don't) let alone conduct the required detective work. Forgetting things, despondent or acting out? Sounds like Alzheimer's to me. Here's your donepezil and a POA to sign over your rights.
The diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, though, is made based on symptoms. No blood test or imaging test is currently available to diagnose the disease with 100 percent accuracy, which is why misdiagnoses occur.
A team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, led by Melissa Murray, found that men are misdiagnosed more often. Her team's study examined data from the State of Florida brain bank of more than 1,600 people who died after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's.
In a second study, researchers from the Keenan Research Center for Biomedical Science at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada, looked at inconsistencies between clinical and autopsy diagnoses in more than 1,000 people listed in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center database. The researchers found that 78 percent of the patients had a correct diagnosis in the clinic, which was later confirmed in an autopsy of the brain. However, nearly 11 percent of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's in the clinic didn't have the disease. And, another nearly 11 percent who weren't diagnosed with Alzheimer's actually had the disease.
The results of both studies were presented at the July 26, 2016 of the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, in Toronto.
We didn't learn fast enough to help Dad, but maybe just maybe we can help others not to repeat our mistakes.