Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s…But It Was Something Else
When Tana Amen’s dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she wasn’t sure what to do. She didn’t have a relationship with her father. He had left her family when she was just a baby, started doing drugs, and very rarely dropped in to see his daughter as she grew up.
When Tana reached the age of 18, she made it very clear to him she never wanted to talk to him again. She was done.
An Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
More than a decade had passed when Tana got the call from her sisters that their father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. They were really worried, and they wanted Tana’s help.
Tana’s first reaction was, “Why is this my problem? He’s never been a part of my life. Why are you calling me?”
But by then Tana had started dating Dr. Daniel Amen, the neuroscientist and psychiatrist who is a pioneer in the use of brain imaging in psychiatry. When Tana told him about her dad’s situation, Dr. Amen asked if anybody had bothered to look at his brain.
None of her dad’s doctors had done a brain scan, so they were basically medicating him in the dark.
Dr. Amen asked if he could scan Tana’s dad’s brain using a neuroimaging technology called SPECT. There are over 2,000 brain SPECT studies on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s considered one of the best tools for studying these conditions. Tana’s dad agreed to get scanned.
What Did His Brain Scan Reveal?
The SPECT brain scan showed he didn’t actually have Alzheimer’s disease. There is a certain Alzheimer’s pattern seen on SPECT scans, and he didn’t have it. He had been misdiagnosed. And he was being treated with the wrong medications.
The brain scans showed that he had a condition called pseudodementia. This occurs when people appear to have the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, but their brain doesn’t show it. The brain scans show that they’re actually depressed. Pseudodementia is depression that’s masquerading as severe cognitive and memory problems.
When Tana’s dad stopped taking his medications and started following a comprehensive treatment plan for depression, things took a really interesting turn.
Find out more about what happened to Tana’s dad on the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast:
With the world’s largest database of functional brain scans—over 150,000 and growing—Amen Clinics has treated many people with pseudodementia who had been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Accurately diagnosing and treating pseudodementia helps patients reverse symptoms of dementia.
If you have a loved one is suffering from memory loss or cognitive decline, speak to a specialist today by calling 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit for a comprehensive evaluation.