Answers to Common Brain and Memory Questions

Premier Physician Network’s doctors answer frequently asked questions about the brain and memory loss.

What are reversible causes of memory loss?

Some causes of memory loss can be reversible, according to the Alzheimer’s AssociationOff Site Icon (AA).

The Family Caregiver AllianceOff Site Icon (FCA) states that causes of reversible memory loss can include:

  • Depression
  • Emotional distress
  • Endocrine abnormalities
  • Infections
  • Medication interactions
  • Metabolic disturbances
  • Nutritional and vitamin deficiencies
  • Vision and hearing issues

If these are found early, these issues can be treated and the symptoms can improve, according to the FCA.

Talk to your doctor for more information about the possibility of reversible dementia.

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Can infections lead to memory loss?

Some types of infections that can lead to memory loss, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Some kind of severe brain infections or infections around the brain can cause memory loss, according to the NIH. Other infections, including Lyme disease, syphilis and HIV/AIDS, also can cause memory loss that can affect behavior, judgment, language skill and thinking.

In people who already have Alzheimer’s disease, getting even a minor infection, such as a cold or a stomach bug, can lead to increased memory loss, according to the American Academy of NeurologyOff Site Icon (AAN).

For more information about infections and memory loss, talk with your doctor.

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Is dementia an age-related disease?

Dementia itself is not a disease, but rather just a word used to describe a variety of symptoms that occur when memory and critical thinking skills stop working the way they should, according to the Alzheimer’s AssociationOff Site Icon(AA).

Dementia describes a decline in a person’s mental abilities that is so severe it causes problems with daily life, according to the AA.

Though memory can be affected by aging, the AA points out that it is a misconception that serious issues with memory are a normal part of growing older.

Some dementia is more common in older people though, according to Premier Physician Network’ physicians. For example 3 percent of people develop dementia between ages 65 and 74, and about 20 percent of people develop dementia between ages 75 and 84.

Talk to your doctor about dementia and its relation to age.

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How is dementia diagnosed?

There is not one specific test that can be used to diagnose dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s AssociationOff Site Icon(AA).

Dementia – including Alzheimer’s – is diagnosed based on a variety of factors all considered together, including medical history, physical exam, lab tests and evaluation of changes in thinking, according to the AA.

Having information about how a patient’s day-to-day life has suffered because of memory loss and cognitive function is also useful information physicians use to diagnose dementia, according to the AA.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how dementia is diagnosed.

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How is dementia treated?

Choosing how to treat dementia depends on what type of dementia it is and what symptoms the dementia is causing, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon(NIH).

A doctor can treat physical and behavioral issues caused by dementia, including aggression, agitation, or wandering, according to the NIH.

If someone has Alzheimer’s disease, it can be treated with prescription medication to help maintain thinking, memory, and speaking skills, according to the NIH. For some people it helps lessen some behavior problems for a few months or years. Treatment will not, however, stop Alzheimer’s from progressing.

Doctors can help someone with vascular dementia by providing treatment to help prevent future strokes, which could include treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, according to the NIH.

Talk to your doctor for more information about treating dementia.

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What is an aneurysm in the brain?

Dr. Ludwig discusses what an aneurysm is. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in an artery, which is a blood vessel that carries oxygen-filled blood throughout the body, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

A balloon-like bulge associated with any artery in the brain would be classified as a brain aneurysm. Most brain aneurysms have no symptoms until they are large, leak blood, or burst.

Brain aneurysm symptoms, according to the NIH, could include:

  • Dilated pupil
  • Double vision or other vision issues
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the face or body
  • Pain above or behind the eye

Talk to your doctor for more information about aneurysms.

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Can a person reduce their risk of developing a brain aneurysm?

Dr. Ludwig discusses reducing the risk of aneurysm. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

While some risk factors for developing a brain aneurysm are out of a person’s control, other risk factors are things people can do their best to minimize, according to the Brain Aneurysm FoundationOff Site Icon (BAF).

Some factors people can control to reduce the risk of aneurysms, according to the BAF, include:

  • Drug use, specifically cocaine
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking

For more information about reducing your risk of a brain aneurysm, talk to your doctor.

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How are brain aneurysms treated?

Dr. Ludwig discusses treatment for an aneurysm. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

https://youtu.be/

 

How brain aneurysm is treated depends on its size and location within the brain, National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Treatment could include anything from monitoring the aneurysm to minimally invasive surgery to a surgery that requires opening the skull and entering the brain, according to Premier Health Specialists’ (PPN) physicians.

Talk to your doctor for more information about treatment for an aneurysm.

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Thanks to these Premier Physician Network’s doctors for answering these common questions about the brain and memory:

Additional Resources

This website provides general medical information that should be used for informative and educational purposes only. Information found here should not be used as a substitute for the personal, professional medical advice of your physician. Do not begin any course of treatment without consulting a physician.

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