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howardjames (@howardjames)

Cerebellum Brain Atrophy

Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases | Last Active: May 25 11:28am | Replies (206)

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@howardjames Noreen, I have MRIs showing cerebral atrophy, which can be present in a number of brain conditions. The 1st few neurologists told me I did not have what my primary suspected: Hydrocephalus. This is a condition where your cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) does not drain out of your brain like it should, pressure builds on the brain and kills neurons. Finally, I saw a neurologist who knew how to diagnose hydro from an MRI. Such neurologists are rare where I live. Most use tests that have a significant false negative rate: the spinal tap (15% false negatives per my neurologist) and the lumbar drain (lesser false negative rate). Both tests take cerebrospinal fluid out of your spine to reduce brain pressure, and you get a hydro diagnosis if you symptoms improve. Some Drs. want to see more improvement than others. Less informed Drs. sometimes rely solely on this test, when the best practice now is to rule out all other possible brain conditions. Sometimes even respected institutions have some less informed Drs. I would ask the diagnosing Dr. if (s)he ruled out hydrocephalus and on the basis of what. Many of his symptoms can come from cervical myelopathy (bad spine features impacting the spinal cord, possibly because the canal is congenitally narrow). I am wondering if his entire spine has been reviewed and spinal causes ruled out. You might ask. There is at least one case report in the literature of a person with cervical myelopathy getting a misleading report from a lumbar drain as a result of having cervical myelopathy. The title is Cervical Spine Disease May Result in a Negative Lumbar Drainage Trial in Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a little better diagnosis than atrophy in that surgery (shunting) can help reverse the downward slide and give you some of your life back–clearer thinking, better gait, cessation of the constant peeing that comes w/ hydro. I had untreated hydro for 22 months and still got rid of a lot of symptoms, although now I am sliding back because of the spine problems that went undiagnosed while everyone was concentrating on the hydro. You have been dealt a difficult hand–it's a good thing that you have an inquiring spirit! Also, you might get a free subscription to a magazine published for patients by the American Academy of Neurology, Brain and Life. It can be read online, but you can also find it online, subscribe and request they mail you hard copy. It can give you a nice perspective on the whole area of brain conditions, and is written at the layperson level. Sorry, as a new member,, I am prohibited from posting links at first. Hope you can find from my information. Will post them later when I am permitted, if I recall. I have short term memory loss from the Hydro.

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Replies to "@howardjames Noreen, I have MRIs showing cerebral atrophy, which can be present in a number of..."

Thank you for responding. The doctor at Mayo Clinic took many other tests but no spinal tap. He is progressing as the doctor said he would. Wheelchair bound at this time, but he has been tested for gluten and it came back negative.