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Is Alzheimer's disease the default diagnosis for confused elders?

January 25, 2013

Alzheimer's organizations have worked diligently to raise public awareness of the disease. The downside of this awareness, however, is that even doctors can jump to possibly faulty conclusions when they see an elderly person showing signs of memory loss or significant confusion. A recent article in the Detroit Free Press features Peter Lichtenberg, head of Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology. In a paper for the journal Clinical Gerontology, Lichtenberg, according to the article, "highlighted two case studies: in one, a man's bouts of confusion and agitation in his late 70s were caused by illness and painful cellulitis, not Alzheimer's; in the other, an 87-year-old woman, who seemed suddenly confused, was suffering from depression."