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Half of Alzheimer's cases misdiagnosed
February 23rd, 2011
04:10 PM ET

Half of Alzheimer's cases misdiagnosed

Roughly half of the people who are told they have Alzheimer's disease may in fact have other forms of dementia that produce similar symptoms, according to a new study.

Doctors have known for some time that the confusion and memory loss caused by the brain lesions associated with Alzheimer's can also be caused by other types of brain changes, such as tissue damage stemming from strokes. The study suggests that it may be even harder than previously thought to identify the source of dementia while a patient is still alive, says lead researcher Lon White, M.D.

Health.com: 25 signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

"There are at least five different kinds of important lesions which can produce a picture that looks like Alzheimer's," says White, a professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. "Each of those five kinds of lesions is apparently driven by its own pathologic process, and having one doesn't protect you from having others. All are independent and all are increasing with age."
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Mind-body: Inside chronic fatigue
February 23rd, 2011
01:54 PM ET

Mind-body: Inside chronic fatigue

Dr. Charles Raison, CNNHealth's Mental Health expert and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, writes regularly on the mind-body connection for better health.

Every Wednesday afternoon for the last 10 years I’ve slung a government ID badge around my neck and walked up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I set aside my identity as a psychiatrist who studies meditation and take on the role of guest researcher in a group of scientists charged by Congress with studying chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS.

If ever there was a condition in which the mind and body give rise to disease and acrimony it is CFS. Everyone involved in the disorder is angry. Patients are mad because they are catastrophically disabled by a condition for which no one can find a convincing cause. Researchers are mad because when their findings suggest that CFS has a strong emotional/mental component, patients and their advocacy groups get even madder, reading in these findings everything from government conspiracy to the simple insult that their illness is “all in their head.”

Into this fray comes the largest and most definitive study of how to treat CFS ever done, published last week in the journal Lancet. As one who works in the field I find its results important, hopeful and disappointing. Still, for anyone who struggles with chronic exhaustion, pain or other physical symptoms for which doctors can’t find a cause, the study provides clear guidance about how to best proceed in dealing with your symptoms.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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