- Besides Alzheimer disease, what are some other causes of confusion, memory lapses, and cognitive decline?
Occasional forgetfulness is normal and should not be a cause for concern unless it increases in frequency or interferes with daily living. However, some of the causes of cognitive decline, besides AD, include:
- Medication interactions or side effects and over-medication; make sure you tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking.
- Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 deficiency
- Having a history of another condition that may contribute to mental changes, including diabetes, hypertension, or kidney, liver, or thyroid disorders
- Structural disorders like brain tumors, head injuries, and normal pressure
- Degenerative diseases, including age-related cognitive decline, Huntington's Chorea disease, Parkinson disease, and Pick disease
- Infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Creutzfeldt-Jakob, meningitis, encephalitis, or syphilis
- Anxiety, depression
- Heavy metal poisoning (for example, lead poisoning)
- Is there a way to get involved in research efforts related to Alzheimer disease?
Yes. Both affected and unaffected individuals can participate in clinical trials. In addition, people can donate the brain tissue of a family member after their death. For scientists to continue to study the causes of AD and to potentially find a cure, samples are needed of brain tissue from people who had AD as well as from elderly people who did not. You can find more information on clinical trials involving AD at the ClinicalTrials.gov website.
- Is there a link between mad cow disease and Alzheimer disease?
There is no evidence at this time of any connection between bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly called mad cow disease, and Alzheimer disease even though some of the symptoms may appear similar.
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