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Because symptoms of Alzheimer’s and depression are very similar, a wrong diagnosis can be costly.
“Chronic depression can cause a structure in your brain to shrink, and that structure is called the hippocampus and that structure is responsible for new learning and remembering,” said psychologist Dr. Shannon Gould.
While depression can be treated and often cured, Alzheimer’s can only be managed. An early diagnosis means early treatment. Neuropsychological evaluations can help determine if it’s dementia or depression.
“We are looking at attention, concentration, processing speed. I may have my patients read a short story and recall as much of that story as they can,” said Dr. Gould.
Depression is not always common in Alzheimer’s patients, but a deficit in their daily living is.
“Difficulty taking medication, maybe they are missing a dosage of medication here, or let’s say a person has always managed the finances, was impeccable with balancing the check book, now suddenly they have difficulty writing out a check properly,” said Dr. Gould.
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