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Alzheimer’s and the Thyroid


I wish I could shout this from the mountain top: “when Alzheimer’s or dementia present themselves get the thyroid checked”.


About a year ago, I read an article on hypothyroidism and posted it to this blog. The article described the symptoms of hypothyroidism and how it is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in women only. The symptoms of hypothyroidism include: forgetfulness, weight gain, depression, dry skin, and fatigue. All of these were present in my mother. As a result, I asked our personal physician to check my mother’s thyroid. Sure enough she was suffering from a sluggish thyroid. He prescribed levothyroxine.

The results of the medication for us were remarkable. Within a couple of months my mother started to smile more often. Next thing I knew, my mother started to experience an occasional hearty laugh. Something she had not done in years. If you are a caregiver, like me, you will understand how frustrating it can be when your loved one stops laughing and smiling. I believe you will understand how wonderful I felt when I heard my mother laugh for the first time in years. My mother continues to smile with greater frequency and I can tell you she went for years without a smile before the introduction of the drug. An additional benefit included a slow but gradual loss of weight(about 8 pounds so far). We were fortunate that we read the article on hypothyroidism. If you, a friend, or a loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s please get the thyroid checked closely.

In the book The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems the authors discuss in detail physical problems that can and do effect memory. The book is worth obtaining. It is full of beneficial information and resources.

I am not trying to mislead you here. The prescribed drug did not cure my mother’s Alzheimer’s. But, there is quite a bit of research which indicates that hypothyroidism can present as Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Original content the Alzheimer’s Reading Room

Previously on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room.

Abnormal Thyroid Levels Can Increase Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease in Women

Overuse Of Antipsychotics Among Nursing Home Residents With Dementia

Is it Alzheimer’s or something else?

Alzheimer’s Question, Where can I get the best medical evaluation for my wife?


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Teva can’t yet sell Alzheimer’s generic (Aricept)

My mother takes Aricept at a cost of about $160 a month. A generic versions of Aricept is sure to benefit millions and dramatically cut the cost of health care.

We use to pay over $100 a month for Zocor. The generic now runs $10 a month (since July 2007).

Drug developer Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. said Friday a U.S. District Court ordered Teva to tentatively refrain from selling a generic version of Eisai Co.’s Alzheimer’s treatment Aricept.

The tentative injunction by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey was requested by Japan’s Eisai as part of an ongoing lawsuit with Teva.

Teva has already gained tentative Food and and Drug Administration approval for the generic drug and could receive final approval April 26, when the mandatory stay of approval under the patent lawsuit expires. A trial date has not yet been set.

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How is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed?

clipped from www.nia.nih.gov

Today, the only definite way to diagnose AD is to find out whether there are plaques and tangles in brain tissue.

At specialized centers, doctors can diagnose AD correctly up to 90 percent of the time. Doctors use several tools to diagnose “probable” AD, including:

  • questions about the person’s general health, past medical problems, and ability to carry out daily activities;
  • tests to measure memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language;
  • medical tests – such as tests of blood, urine, or spinal fluid; and
  • brain scans.
  • Why is early diagnosis important?

    An early, accurate diagnosis of AD helps patients and their families plan for the future. It gives them time to discuss care options while the patient can still take part in making decisions. Early diagnosis also offers the best chance to treat the symptoms of the disease.

    The course the disease takes and how fast changes occur vary from person to person.

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    Free Online Publications Alzheimer’s and Caregiving

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    National Institute on Aging Clinical Trials

    clipped from www.nia.nih.gov

    The Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trials Database is a joint project of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) maintained by the NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center.

    Here you can search a database of clinical trials on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia currently in progress at sites throughout the U.S.:

    Search for Trials 

    Trials in the News 

    More Information:

  • AD Clinical Trials: Questions & Answers
  • To search further listings of clinical trials underway at the National Institutes of Health and other research institutions, go to Clinicaltrials.gov.
  • For information about submitting a clinical trial to the ADEAR database, send an e-mail to: trials@alzheimers.org.
  • To receive updates about new clinical trials, subscribe to e-mail alerts.
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    Study Finds Improved Cognitive Health among Older Americans

    clipped from www.nia.nih.gov

    Study Finds Improved Cognitive Health among Older Americans

    Rates of cognitive impairment among older Americans are on the decline, according to a new study supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) comparing the cognitive health of older people in 1993 and 2002. Higher levels of education were associated with better cognitive health.

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    Mayo Clinic in Alzheimer’s

    clipped from www.mayoclinic.com

    What is Alzheimer’s?

    Resources for understanding Alzheimer’s disease, Alzheimer’s symptoms and Alzheimer’s treatment, including Alzheimer’s medication.

  • Alzheimer’s and other dementias
  • Alzheimer’s treatment
  • Alzheimer’s symptoms
  • Coping with Alzheimer’s care

    Information to help you care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Alzheimer’s caregivers: How to cope
  • Helping people with Alzheimer’s cope
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