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I Need Some Reassurance
Old 12-01-2006, 05:44 PM   #1
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I Need Some Reassurance

I suffered a traumatic head injury at the age of 5 (33 years ago). Everything seemed fine until I turned 15 when I developed a lot of pressure in the head and accompanying migraines. However, I've managed to live reasonably well with this and went on the attain two masters degree and a fairly lucrative career. By my mid-thirties, I noticed that I had a lot of trouble with recalling names of people and places. The information was not lost; it was obviously in my brain but accessing it was difficult. For example, I don't remember names of many of my elementary, hs, university teachers nor classmate but would immediately recognize the names if I am reminded. I was also good at remembing details of conversations but now I don't remember all the details.

I don't remember much about the accident except being in the emergency room. Since the hospital was not too far from the scene of the accident, I am assuming if I was unconscious, it probably was not more than 20 minutes. I don't know how to characterize the injury (i.e. mild or moderate) since the hospital records have since being destroyed (injury occured outside of the US).

I've seen a couple of doctors, the last of whom, a neuro psycholgists said I tested in the normal range except for some tapping test they had me do. I find that hard to believe since I forget the names of individuals who I have been having occassional contact with for years. If I don't see them for a certain period of time, then I can't remember their names. About 4 years ago, I had an EEG which was abnormal but I have never had a seizure. My MRI also showed mild atrophy (more than was expected for my age).

I am worried sick that I am developing early on-set Alzheimers. I read somewhere that head injury may present a risk. Apart from what I described, I am very healthy, happy, with no emotional problems and in great shape. Occasionally, I get frustrated with working since I would like to ER and spend more time with my children but that's truly all.

Has any one of you or your a family member experienced a head injury. I need some reassurance.
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance
Old 12-01-2006, 08:54 PM   #2
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADJ
By my mid-thirties, I noticed that I had a lot of trouble with recalling names of people and places. The information was not lost; it was obviously in my brain but accessing it was difficult. For example, I don't remember names of many of my elementary, hs, university teachers nor classmate but would immediately recognize the names if I am reminded. I was also good at remembing details of conversations but now I don't remember all the details.
I find that hard to believe since I forget the names of individuals who I have been having occassional contact with for years. If I don't see them for a certain period of time, then I can't remember their names.
I am worried sick that I am developing early on-set Alzheimers. I read somewhere that head injury may present a risk.
Welcome to the club. I've been concussed a couple times (boxing & martial arts) but never severely.

I've had to remember thousands of trivial details important aspects of nuclear engineering, and satisfactory level of knowledge is described as "able to recognize the correct answer when heard". What you describe is easily attributed to being overwhelmed with information or suffering from chronic fatigue & stress. I forget many of those details myself but they usually pop up a few days later. I've also taught thousands of military students in one-week classes so I'm pretty accustomed to forgetting the names of people whom I used to spend a lot of time with.

Thomas Debaggio punched out two books while dealing with early onset Alzheimer's. In his case it started with forgetting the names of herbs he dealt with every day (he grew & sold them). Medical testing quickly pointed to early onset. If you've been evaluated by doctors and you're not immediately getting a lot of attention then it's probably not Alzheimer's. But you might feel better after reading Debaggio's books.

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Re: I Need Some Reassurance
Old 12-01-2006, 08:59 PM   #3
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADJ
I noticed that I had a lot of trouble with recalling names of people and places. The information was not lost; it was obviously in my brain but accessing it was difficult. For example, I don't remember names of many of my elementary, hs, university teachers nor classmate but would immediately recognize the names if I am reminded. I was also good at remembing details of conversations but now I don't remember all the details.
ADJ,

I don't know if this is any reassurance.

I have a terrible memory for people's faces and names as well as place names. Also, I remember scattered details of most conversations. and have to think hard to remember who said a particular thing. Like you, the minformation is somewhere in my brain, but not easily accessed. If something serves as a 'trigger', with some effort, I can usually dredge something relevant out of the recesses of my brain.

I have not had a traumatic head injury. I just chalk it up to that is how I am wired.

On the other hand, I have a scarily-good memory for other things (not nearly as useful as remembering names, faces and conversations) -- many are 'locational'. For instance, I can recall which table (and which seat at that table) at a restaurant I sat at many years ago. I have a great sense of direction. I can remember my way around a city I visited years ago.

HTH,

omni




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Re: I Need Some Reassurance
Old 12-02-2006, 09:44 AM   #4
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance

I doubt that your injury when you were five is relevant.

I'm exactly like Omni. I never realized it until now, but I can also remember what seat I sat in a restaurant when I was in college. My wife, on the other had has difficulty finding her way out of the restaurant.

I've got the name problem too, but I'm reassured by recalling that I had this problem even when I was younger. Yes, it's getting worse, but my whole family has it, and I can see where I'll be when I'm 90 by talking with my Mom.

I recall that 7 years ago, I was talking with someone, and I couldn't remember the name of someone that played in a small musical group that I was in.

My feeling is that when this stuff happens when you're thirty, you don't give it a seconnd thought. If it happens when you're 53, you notice it because you think you're getting Alz.

I remember once when I was in sixth grade, I momentarily couldn't remember how to spell the word "of."* If that happened today I'd probably check myself into the hospital.

*I was sitting in the second row of desks from the window, in the second to last desk in the row.
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance
Old 12-02-2006, 09:58 AM   #5
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by omni550
I have a terrible memory for people's faces and names as well as place names. Also, I remember scattered details of most conversations. and have to think hard to remember who said a particular thing. Like you, the minformation is somewhere in my brain, but not easily accessed. If something serves as a 'trigger', with some effort, I can usually dredge something relevant out of the recesses of my brain.
I have documented vascular dementia from over 46 years of type 1 diabetes. I am on disability due to no longer being able to do my job well enough (real time programmer). I was tested extensively to determine the cause and to qualify for disabilty. You'd barely notice anything while talking to me. I can't recall words very well while talking (retrieval aphasia) and can't remember people's faces. Apparently, there are a lot of different areas of the brain that have "IQs." One of these is remembering faces. Measured on a normal scale, typical average face recall is 100. My measured ability to remember faces is an IQ of 8! I have no problem with numbers, either manipulating them or remembering them. My number IQ is 140.

The diabetes resulted in small blood vessel damage in my brain. I have short term memory problems and difficulty learning new things. I also have a hard time with "high level cognizant function," which was really what made it difficult to do my job. I found in my last year of work that my work output had slowed to a rate of one fourth of what it used to be. In other words, I took 4 times longer to do stuff at work which was not economically viable for a high tech environment.

On the plus side, I am really happy not having to go to work.

I saw a neurologist early on in my diagnosis who told me that if I didn't have diabetes he would have told me to get lost. He said he gets a lot of middle aged people in who claim something's wrong and he has to tell tem that memory loss is normal.

Mike D.
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance
Old 12-02-2006, 10:02 AM   #6
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance

Trust your doctors. If your test are ok and your doc is not concerned, be happy.
Most all of us have memory problems. Some worse than others. If you continue to worry about it, get another opinion. Good luck!
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance
Old 12-02-2006, 04:24 PM   #7
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance

Thank you so much for the kind reassurances. I guess, I worry so much about it because I am only 38. My guess is that most of those responding to my post with similar memory issues are probably older. Thanks again and I will try to relax and enjoy life a little more.
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance
Old 12-02-2006, 05:01 PM   #8
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance

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Originally Posted by ADJ
I am only 38. My guess is that most of those responding to my post with similar memory issues are probably older.
Yes, I'm 56.

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Thanks again and I will try to relax and enjoy life a little more.
Yes!

omni
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance
Old 12-02-2006, 05:22 PM   #9
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Re: I Need Some Reassurance

Yup, I took a good blow to the head in college which caused a brain aneurysm and a vestibular disorder.

The best way to handle it is to enjoy life to it's fullest. We all have our own **** in life to deal with and the end result is always the same. It's the journey and the path we choose that makes the difference.

Best of luck and good attitude to us all,

-helen
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