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MRI showed 2 non-specific white matter abnormalties in right frontal lobe
Apr 6, 2004

HI, I have been prediagnosed with Early on-set Alzheimer's (Organic Brain Disease) at age 38, I will soon be 40. My first MRI about 1 year ago showed 1 spot in the white matter and some atrophy, my MRI from last week showed 2 spots in white matter. What does this mean? I don't see mt neurologist for 5 more months.

Response from Dr. Horwath

HIV infection does not cause Alzheimer's disease. However, HIV-associated dementia does occur in approximately 5% of persons with AIDS, usually in persons with advanced AIDS, high viral loads and CD4 counts < 200. The diagnosis is made on the basis of clinical manifestations, which include cognitive, motor and behavioral signs and symptoms. The symptoms may include slowed thinking, memory impairment, other types of cognitive impairment, tremors, arm and leg weakness, gait disturbance, and others.

The diagnosis is not made on the basis of MRI. One or two "spots" in the white matter on an MRI may be signs of HIV-related changes or may be non-specific. Also, mild cortical atrophy is sometimes seen even in people with no evidence of dementia.

HIV-associated dementia is associated with disease in the white matter of the brain, but MRI is not a reliable diagnostic tool for the diagnosis of dementia.



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