Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Not all that forgets is dementia

thumb

Frequently, my patients will come to a visit and bring up a major concern: “Doc, I think I might have dementia; my memory seems to be slipping.” They might give examples of having difficulty finding words, forgetting people’s names, or just feeling like their thinking is slower. Many of them know a family member who had dementia, and they are worried.
My first response is to hear their concerns; of course, if a patient is showing early signs of dementia, we want to assess that and do our best to get to a diagnosis for them. What I have found, however, is that often when these concerns are raised, we find things that are not dementia to explain them.
As we age, some symptoms perceived as memory changes are probably within the spectrum of normal. The occasional forgetting or having a delay finding words is a great example of this. More difficulty recalling names is another. This can be normal at any age but tends to happen more frequently as our brains age.
Sometimes patients are noticing real and concerning issues, but through medical evaluation, we find non-dementia reasons for them. The most common reason would be – you guessed it – medications. While many medications can affect cognition especially in older patients, often we can blame drugs with anti-cholinergic properties (even over-the-counter diphenhydramine found in cold, allergy, and sleep medication) and benzodiazepines (usually prescribed for anxiety or sleep). Patients should review their medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, as an early step in evaluating these concerns.
Other common mimics of cognitive change in older patients are depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. These disorders can cause the brain to be unfocused and distracted which frequently manifests as forgetfulness. Treating the underlying condition effectively will usually improve one’s cognition, so we should look for signs of those when evaluating memory concerns.
Numerous other medical causes can also impair one’s cognition and memory. These include vitamin deficiencies, abnormal electrolytes, infections, or abnormalities in the brain like bleeding, tumors, or hydrocephalus. Further, there are numerous causes of dementia; Alzheimer’s disease being just one. A thorough history, exam, and sometimes labs or imaging might be warranted if true cognitive impairment is present.
To be clear, if you are experiencing symptoms of change in memory, don’t assume it is dementia. Talk with your medical provider; it may be normal or have any of a long list of other causes. Let’s figure it out together.
Kelly Evans-Hullinger, M.D. is part of The Prairie Doc® team of physicians and currently practices internal medicine in Brookings, South Dakota. Follow The Prairie Doc® at www.prairiedoc.org and on Facebook featuring On Call with the Prairie Doc® a medical Q&A show providing health information based on science, built on trust, streaming live on Facebook most Thursdays at 7 p.m. central.  

DOC

thumb

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Extending the Golden Hour

When I was a young physician, we talked with almost religious zeal about the “Golden Hour.” Early on, this principally focused on the idea that within the first hour after an injury, a patient needed to receive definitive treatment in order to maximize the chances... [More]

thumb

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - The Other Skin Cancer

When people talk about skin cancer the type that most people think about is melanoma.  This skin cancer follows the ABCDE rules for diagnosis.  A – Asymmetry, B – irregular Border, C – more than 1 Color, D – Diameter more than 6 mm, and E –... [More]

thumb

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Grief and Love

Writing about grief is like writing about life—huge! Where does one start? It is like describing love: basically impossible. The comedian and late-night host Stephen Colbert lost his father and two older brothers in a tragic accident when he was young, and said, about grief,... [More]

thumb

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - If it Sounds Too Good to be True

At my house, classic TV is a given. My 93-year-old father-in-law enjoys watching reruns of westerns, Perry Mason, Andy Griffith, and Gomer Pyle. With these old favorites come commercials targeting an aging population: Medicare Advantage plans, reverse mortgages, and “miracle... [More]

thumb

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Advances in Surgery

My son is one of the many Americans with cleft lip and palate. The specifics of each affected individual’s situation vary, but one thing they have in common is that they will be having surgery. Lots of surgery. Although most individuals with orofacial clefts, including... [More]

thumb

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - The Two Sides of Humanity in Medicine

Merriam-Webster defines humanity as “compassionate, sympathetic, or generous behavior or disposition.”  It is also defined as “the quality or condition of being human.”  The first definition is what people want in a health care provider.  We... [More]

thumb

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Be a hero; learn CPR

We are familiar with the scene on television and movies: a person clutches their chest and drops to the ground, unconscious. Another character starts chest compressions and help is summoned. Although cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is often not accurately portrayed in... [More]

Prairie Doc® Perspectives - Gratitude for Grandparents

A three-pound baby entered the world in recent days. This precious child was born after his Mom spent seven weeks in the hospital on bedrest. At home, Dad and two siblings were working, going to school, and worrying. Surrounding the family were two sets of grandparents who ensured... [More]

More Doc


COURT

Michele Howell Makes First Appearance on Arson Charges

Michele Howell appeared in Wallace County District Court on Wednesday, April 7th in person via zoom meeting.  Her court appointed attorney Justin Barrett, Colby opted not to appear with his client for her first appearance. Wallace County Attorney Charles Moser appeared on... [More]

Margheim and Schippers Sentenced in Wallace County District Court

Jake Wilson Margheim appeared in Wallace County District Court on November 12th, 2020 for sentencing in case number 17 CR 33.  Margheim had been charged with 1 count of unlawful possession with intent to distribute marijuana, a level 4 drug felony, on January 28, 2017.  Margheim... [More]

Traffic Court July-December 2020

Elmer Nelson of Lamar, CO was fined $93 plus court costs on 9/3/2020 - cited driving 73 mph in a 55 mph zone on 1/18/1994 by WACOSO. Kathleen Brammer of Grain Valley, MO was fined $69 plus court costs on 9/10/20250 – cited driving 79 mph in a 65 mph zone on 10/05/2018 by... [More]

Small Claims Court Proceedings

Case number 2020-SC-2 D Walker Concrete, LLC vs Jory Parks. On June 15th, 2020 (plaintiff) D Walker Concrete LLC filed claim against (defendant) Jory Parks, DBA Heartcross Ranch Designs LLC in the amount of $1150.25 for concrete delivered, plus $15 for sheriff service and $67.50... [More]

District Court Sentencings

Rolando Gonzales appeared in Wallace County District Court on January 12, 2020 for sentencing in case number 2019-CR-10 with court appointed attorney Christopher Rohr of Colby, Kans. On February 13, 2019, Gonzales had been found guilty of count 1 Possession of a Controlled Substance,... [More]

Traffic Court March - June

Skyler Jacob Adams Urban, Goodland Kans, transporting an open container, purchase/possession/comume by minor. Deferred adjudication, 12 months. Court Costs $108. William M Dysart, Jr., Weatherford, Okla, driving 82 mph in a 65 mph zone, Fined $87, court cost $108.  Shane... [More]

Wallace County District Court Proceedings

Rene Trevino appeared in Wallace County District Court on October 2, 2019 for sentencing in case number 2019 CR 12.  Trevino had been charged with 1 Count Domestic Battery, a Class B, Person Misdemeanor on September 7, 2019.  He appeared in court with court-appointed... [More]

Traffic Court for January and February

Catherine Elizabeth Capra, Pleasant Hill, Mo, driving 78 mph in a 65 mph zone, deferred, court costs $108. Justin Blake Meyer, St. Francis, Kans, liquor purchased by minor, nolo contendre, fined $200, court costs $239. Transporting an open container, guilty plea, fined $200.... [More]

More Court

NEWS

thumb

Snow Blankets Wallace County Last Week

A much needed 8”- 12” of snow fell over Wallace County last week. Snowfall began on Wednesday and continued off and on until around noon on Saturday.  Above: Looking down at a snow-covered South Park. Left: Erikson and Violet David conquer the mountain of snow... [More]

thumb

Kuhlman named to President’s list

Benedictine College has recognized those students who have distinguished themselves academically during the last semester. Aubrey Kuhlman of Sharon Spgs, KS, was recently named to the President’s List for the fall semester, which ended December 12, 2022. Any full-time student... [More]

thumb

Workshop Explores Family History Writing

The Prairie Museum of Art & History in Colby will host “A Creative Guide to Writing Your Family’s Stories,” a presentation and discussion by Kim Stanley on Sunday, February 5 at 1:30 PM.  Members of the community are invited to attend the free program.... [More]

thumb

“The Kansas Legislature” returns

Another LIVE production from Smoky Hills PBS, The Kansas Legislature, will kick off Friday, February 3 at 7 PM.  Streaming will also be available on our YouTube channel:  http://bit.ly/StreamSmokyHillsPBS The show airs during the legislative session, which gives the... [More]

Governor Kelly Advocates for "Axing Your Taxes" Plan

Governor Laura Kelly traveled to Wichita recently to call on local legislators to support her 'Axing Your Taxes' plan, which would save Kansans more than $500 million in tax cuts over the next three years. The three-pronged plan includes a push to immediately 'axe the tax' on... [More]

thumb

Wildcat Basketball Against Bulldogs

The Wildcats came up short against the Quinter Bulldogs with a final score of 41-51. The Lady Wildcats won their game against Quinter 50-29. Photo by Peggy Fischer. Left: Wildcat Tharyan Hawkins goes up and under for 2 against the Quinter Bulldogs at home last week. Right:... [More]

thumb

WCHS Winter Homecoming Royalty Crowned

Friday, January 13th, WCHS crowned Winter Homecoming King Cauy Dinkel and Queen Joss Benisch.  Front row:  Hayden Wagoner, Bane Fischer, Elli Edwards, Claire Walker-Helsel, Tiera Eby, back row: Seferino Juarez, Joss Benisch, Queen, Cauy Dinkel, King, and Gabe Johnson. ... [More]

thumb

Hennick Lumber Giveaway Winners

Congratulations Skyler Rains and Joni Turk, winners of Hennick Lumber’s recent $500 giveaway!

More News

BUGLE NOTES

thumb

Bugle Notes - 1/26/23

Cottonwood Connections is a new video series on Smoky Hills Public Television being produced through the Friends of the Cottonwood Ranch with film director Ed Lowry. An initial season included host/historian Don Rowlison who explored such subjects as Legacy of the Cottonwood... [More]

thumb

Bugle Notes - 12/1/22

You are invited to join us at the Fort Wallace Museum this coming Sunday, December 4 at 5 pm for our annual “Candlelight Christmas!” The 1888 Bethany Lutheran Church is the location for a traditional Swedish Lutheran Carol service, with special music. Afterward, attendees... [More]

thumb

Bugle Notes - 10/27/22

The Fort Wallace Museum is pleased to announce another venture, this time into the publication of a children’s book “A Dragon’s Tale” by Marla Matkin. This whimsical piece of historical fiction features a little boy named Elliot who loves to imagine himself... [More]

thumb

Bugle Notes...

The Fort Wallace Museum recently gained another marvelous piece of history by way of our good friend Lt. Col (ret) Dennis “DK” Clark of Lansing, KS. This esteemed military strategist and historian is the namesake of our historic lecture series as well as sponsor of... [More]

thumb

Bugle Notes - 9/29/22

During the recent History Exposition, our guest historian and bugle expert Jari Villanueva was intrigued by the musical instrument displayed in the Enlisted Barracks area. This strange brass instrument has been in the Fort Wallace Museum collection for many years and is inventoried... [More]

thumb

Bugle Notes - 9/17/22

The Fort Wallace Museum has just completed a big weekend of activities, which in spite of small challenges, was a success. Our 2022 History Exposition and Outdoor Education Days had the theme of “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail, “ and brought in local historians... [More]

thumb

Fort Wallace Museum to Host History Exposition

Don’t miss this weekend’s History Exposition and Outdoor Education Day “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail!” On Friday and Saturday, the grounds will be filled with demonstrations of telegraphy, oxen, printing press, bugle calls, Cheyenne Ledger... [More]

thumb

Bugle Notes - 9/1/22

Our big History Exposition and Outdoor Education Days are approaching on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10! This year’s theme is “Communication Along the Smoky Hill Trail,” with exhibits on telegraph, telephone, military communication, bugle calls, Plains... [More]

More Bugle Notes