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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 5265
Experience:  Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
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For the past few months (Since the beginning of May, I have

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Hey there.For the past few months (Since the beginning of May, I have been getting very scary symptoms, which started out as sharp, stabbing headaches on both sides of the head, and a strange sensation that radiated across my head, like a warm, liquid like feeling that went from my temples to the tip of my head.I have also been getting strange visual disturbances, a minor bit of doubled out vision, and some strange flashing lights I've been seeing, but I've had my eyes examined and they could not see anything obviously wrong.As the months have progressed, I have noticed more neurological symptoms developing, which have been affecting my everyday life, such as:-- Muscle spasms, sometimes can be just skin twitches but on occasion are aggressive jerks of the arms and legs.
- HORRIBLE short term memory loss (For example, I will go to do a task, and within seconds can sometimes forget what I was thinking, this occurs up to 10-20 times a day.) I have noticed my memory problems have begun to develop and become more complicated, for example, I have found myself forgetting my friends name on occasion, I have also found myself drawing complete blanks in conversation when I try to recall past events and will end up pausing during conversation for a good 5 or so seconds before I can continue speaking. It feels like I have some sort of memory block. I KNOW the information, but my brain just can't process it.
- Stuttered speech, have found I mix up my sentences and jumble words up and not make any sense.
- Reduced spelling ability. I have started to make silly mistakes with my spelling. when I am normally a great speller. These lapses in spelling happen occasionally, but not all the time.
- States of confusion, For example, I will go to retrieve an item I left somewhere but end up going to the wrong item, and it will take my brain 5-10 seconds to process that I am going the wrong way.I feel like what is happening to me is beyond my control. It feels like my mind is not working properly, and I genuinely think I have some form of brain damage or dementia. It's THAT bad. It's scaring me. alot.I cannot continue my everyday life with my brain acting this way. I definitely can't work like this.I have had a CT scan and MRI scan to rule out tumours and whatnot and they came back clear. But the fact these symptoms are getting worse, I feel powerless to do anything. I have no idea what is going on with me.I have tried many medications such as Amitriptyline and Sertraline to help with the memory fluctuations but nothing is helping, they just make me feel tired.Can this really all be stress? I don't believe it can. My brain is making me feel like an 80 year old man. I can't even communicate properly and my parents and friends are getting concerned about me.My memory lapses are like something that my 90 year old gran would have. Not something a 25 year old man like me would experience.Can you bring light on this situation? What could this possibly be? I just want relief from these symptoms and to stop forgetting everything all the time. I feel like I'm going braindead.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 9 months ago.

Hi there. This is a fairly common constellation of signs and symptoms and may be very distressing, particularly in young persons such as yourself. While stress, anxiety, fatigue, etc can create these symptoms, an organic cause must be ruled out as far as possible. The normal CT, MRI and eye exams are very reassuring in this regard. I assume your blood tests have also been normal. Because many of these symptoms are variable, vague and non-specific you need to try to pin them down and measure them as far as possible. The best way to do this is to undergo neuropsychiatric testing. This is a battery of tests that tries to capture and better define the cognitive issues you are experiencing, including the memory problems. Once this is done, you should work with a neurologist and a psychologist to do any further testing suggested by the results, and develop a treatment plan that addresses these issues. You may need specialized blood tests or a lumbar puncture, for example. You might also need to get on a medication that mitigates the intensity of your symptoms without making you tired.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The symptoms I'm experiencing makes me feel like I have brain damage. Even makes me feel like I'm developing Alzheimers. What kind of things could this be? If the MRI scan came back clear. what other things could be causing my brain to function so haphazardly?What should I say to my doctor? He seems pretty convinced that it is stress since the scan results have came back clean. I just want to be able to function properly again.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 9 months ago.

The CT and MRI merely rule out gross structural causes such as tumors, hydrocephalus, blood clots, etc. They typically do not reveal the cause or causes of cognitive issues. This would require neuropsych testing, which I recommend. Were your blood tests (e.g. electrolytes, CBC, thyroid, liver, kidney function) all normal? If so, you really have nothing to hang a diagnosis on. The neuropsych testing would reveal if there was some form of dementia going on. This would be very unusual at your age. More common would be what we call "pseudo-dementia" that looks exactly like dementia but is not really dementia, but rather a result of depression, anxiety and/or stress. If you successfully treat the depression or anxiety, the cognitive issues go away.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I believe I've had some bloods taken for the liver/kidney functions and whatnot which were all fine. I am unsure about the other ones you mentioned. What should I say to my doctor about the neuropsych testing?Is it worth pursuing the stress/anxiety treatment any further? I did have a bad reaction to the Sertraline (high temperature, blotchy rash etc) so I couldn't keep taking it.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I also forgot to mention I am getting bad cases of tinnitus, where I'll get ringing ears for a few seconds once or twice a day. I should also mention that I have Asperger's Syndrome, but whether the condition could cause such major deficits in my mental function is beyond me. I have never experienced cognitive impairment of this scale before.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 9 months ago.

Ask your doctor for cognitive (neuropsych) testing. The results may be revealing. They may also be used as a baseline with which to compare any future testing that might be required, Definitely pursue the stress/anxiety treatment as this may be a cause or an aggravating factor. Either way, anxiety and stress feed into the symptoms and should be treated.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Right I shall do that then, thanks.One last query, in your own opinion, what do you think the cause of this is? I know it could be a number of things but taking everything into account (age etc)
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 9 months ago.

Other than the things already ruled out, the most common causes are stress/anxiety/fatigue, medications (going on or coming off), drug use, infections (untreated syphilis, Lyme disease) and occasionally an autoimmune disorder such as ME/CFS or a vasculitis.

Dr. Bob, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 5265
Experience: Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
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