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Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 46684
Experience:  Board Certified Physician
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My wife who is 76 was recently diagnosed with Shingles - we

Customer Question

My wife who is 76 was recently diagnosed with Shingles - we are now in week 6.
Whilst her pains and itchiness have been getting better, I have noted that her short term memory - particularly to everything that is related to her problem - is almost non existent.
For example, she cannot remember any of her last 5 doctors visits nor the various blood tests that she has taken and she keeps on asking the same repetitive questions regarding her present difficulties. Until the last few days she could not remember that she had Shingles and it is only now that she now accepts what the problem is. I do believe that she finally accepts that her pains, loss of appetite, blurred vision, general anxiety and itching are solely due to this virus and not something else more sinister!
My main concern of course is around her state of mind - pains and itchiness can be controlled by tablets - but how can I deal with her short term memory loss?
Which in turn brings to mind the word DEMENTIA.
She can remember that we need some work doing to our garden and that a contractor will be doing it soon, yet she can not remember that she visited her Doctor last week.
Is there any connection between Shingles and Dementia?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. David replied 1 year ago.

This is Dr. David

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3013629/

yes, there are rare cases of herpes virus attacking the brain and causing encephalitis

she needs to see a doctor right away and get her brain evaluated

she may need a brain MRI scan and a spinal tap

she should consult with a neurologist about her new dementia symptoms

only after testing can we tell what may be causing her dementia

she may benefit from antiviral treatment to help fight her shingles virus infection.

let me know if you have other questions.

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Expert:  Dr. David replied 1 year ago.

you don't have to start a new question.

it doesn't sound like she has had any testing yet to find out what is causing her dementia

without testing, it is impossible to know how your dementia will progress or if it is reversible with treatment

some dementias can be reversible with treatment.