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New Study Finds a High Misdiagnosis Rate in Men for Alzheimer’s Disease

Legal Help for Connecticut Families and Misdiagnosed Alzheimer’s

Young Lady Helping an Elderly GentlemanAlzheimer’s is a crippling disease that affects men and women alike. But, an alarming new research study by HealthDay News has highlighted that Alzheimer’s Disease is often misdiagnosed, possibly more often in men. Two studies were cited in this article and were presented at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in 2016 in Toronto.

The first study featured a team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic. This team found that men were being misdiagnosed more often than women for Alzheimer’s disease. This study cited information from the State of Florida brain bank as well. The researchers had examined over 1,606 brains in patients ranging from 37 to 102 years of age.

They concluded that one reason why there was a higher misdiagnosis rate in men over women was that men tend to develop Alzheimer’s at an earlier age than women – and they often have a more aggressive form of the disease. Men tended to develop Alzheimer’s as early as their 60s, while women were more likely to develop it in their 70s to 90s. Men also seemed to have different disease-related brain pathology than the women diagnosed. This could account for the higher rate of misdiagnosis in those men – because their symptoms can differ from women, as well as the standard posted in medical journals. Researchers also added that the men’s symptoms are often more behavioral in nature, and that language issues can occur, but they do not have the same memory issues that women exhibit.

In the second study cited, researchers from Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto looked at all of the inconsistencies reported from clinical and autopsy diagnosis in 1,073 individuals. They researched their information from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center database. The team found in their research that more than 78 percent of the patients had been correctly diagnosed in the clinic, which was later confirmed via autopsy. However, there were more than 10 percent who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in that same clinic who didn’t actually have the disease, and another 10 percent who were not diagnosed, but did have the disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

As the studies have found, the symptoms in men tend to differ from women, which may have contributed to the lack of proper diagnosis. Also, it is important to realize that the disease progresses through stages – and men do not particularly enter the same stages as women. In general, the disease progresses in three stages:

  1. Mild (Early Stage) – This presents issues such as coming up with the right name or remembering names; having difficulty performing tasks in a social or work setting; forgetting material that was just read; losing or misplacing items; and increasing problems with planning and organization. All of these, however, are often ignored because a person will shrug it off as old age or just being tired.
  2. Moderate (Middle Stage) – This stage is the longest and can actually last several years for some patients. It can include higher levels of forgetfulness, being unable to recall addresses and phone numbers (including their own), and trouble controlling bladder and bowel movements.
  3. Severe (Late Stage) – This stage is the most serious and often requires full-time care. The individual will lose awareness throughout the day and may experience changes in his or her own physical abilities.

Was a Loved One Misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s?

While there is no cure, having accurate and early diagnosis is important with this disease. It can help people receive treatment and even access certain clinical trials – but only in the earlier stages of the disease. If you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, contact a medical malpractice attorney to explore your options. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.