Going Doolally

I have always been a bit absent-minded but lately its been getting noticeably worse, and I was getting a bit worried about it. Then someone on one of the HU boards mentioned a charity called Food for the Brain ( foodforthebrain.org ) and I went for a nose around. The have an online Cognitive Function Questionnaire which I had a go at, of course.

Now we all have certain things that define our sense of self, and for me its my intellect. I KNOW I am clever (in an IQ test/solving problems sort of way) and I rely on my brain to get me out of trouble. Its important because I have never been a structure person or a planner, so I need to be able to solve the messes I get myself into. [As an aside, I have always assumed I was just too lazy to be organised, but someone suggested the other day that I might actually have adult ADHD. How nice to have an excuse!!] Anyway, given how I see myself you can imagine how much of a disaster it seemed when my cognitive function test came back as marginally not good. Not disastrous, how-on-earth-do-you-still-manage?, but just not good for my age.

Apparently homocysteine levels are a predictor of dementia, and the FFTB is working on supplementing to reduce it. They recommended that I had a test. When my surgery prevaricated I had the test done privately(they only said the GP wanted a chat, but I was sick with worry at that point and didn't want to wait till he came back from holiday). Anyway the results also came back marginally off, so I bought my supplements and have been taking them.

Today I finally saw the GP. I was expecting a 'worried well' lecture. Instead he said the best predictor of dementia was the patient being worried about it - GULP!!! And he has referred me to the memory clinic. I can't decide whether to be more worried now, or grateful that my concerns are being taken seriously!

Now my next problem. When things worry me seriously I tend not to tell my nearest and dearest - its just one more thing to worry about. So my poor hubby is going to be greeted with the news that his dotty wife has been referred to a memory clinic! He lives with the dottiness, of course, but that isn't the same as someone saying it may be real, and not just my age.

Raised homocysteine is a result of low B12 and other B vitamins. Who gets low in nutrients???? We do!

So, if your memory is going to pot, consider going to see your GP. I imagine the clinic will retest homocysteine as well as other things, but will have to wait and see. Am sure if I ask him nicely he'll book me a followup test on the NHS now, and save me another £100

10 Replies

  • Homocysteine is also a marker for strokes and other heart connected issues. A more important indicator than cholesterol according to some articles/books/websites :-)

    You sound OK to me Ruthi ....

  • Awww fanks!

  • I know its a marker for heart disease, but the threshhold is higher for that than for the dementia. I guess its what gets you first!

  • Oh - I didn't know that. Will do the test too. My problem is on the keyboard - I reverse letters all the time which is a new phenomenon :-(

    Have had my Homocysteine tested for many years - since moving to Crete in 2004 - and it has now lowered. Was in double figures. I do not believe it is a routine test on the NHS - sadly. Prevention is better than cure.

    When they were researching plaque - prior to Statins - they also found Homocysteine - but as the solution was vitamins the Homocysteine research was shelved. Now back in vogue - thankfully.

  • I have been going through the same worries over the last few years. I've never been organised, and my life has never been planned well. But it never used to matter because I had an amazingly good memory. I always managed to pull myself out of trouble at the last minute.

    But with my memory failing me I'm having lots of difficulties. I remember going to the doctor and complaining about it about 6 years ago. And she looked at me as if I had become dangerously mad, and said "What do you expect!!?? You're over 50!"

    I don't see that doctor any more if I can help it, even though she is the one I'm registered with. But I've never mentioned my memory to a doctor since.

  • Do the quiz, Bean. And have you made any progress with the homocysteine and MMA tests?

  • I'll definitely try the quiz. Thanks for the suggestion.

    I haven't tried to get the homocysteine and MMA tests yet. For family reasons I'm not even at home at the moment, and I've been putting off all sorts of things to do with my health for ages.

  • I've been worried about my memory as well (short-term memory) as I keep forgetting from one moment to the next what it was I went to a room for! Happens many times a day. So I went and did the test (which is pretty difficult and those images are very small, even though I just got new glasses, I did struggle a bit with them). However I passed the test, much to my surprise. I do also wonder whether the forgetfulness is part of being online a lot and constantly jumping from one thing to another, so in effect we're training our brains not to focus on anything for more than a few minutes.

    I'd take the homocysteine test but it is a bit pricey at £149 so might leave it for now. Will be starting on B vits shortly as my B12 was low. Even though the cognitive test said I'm fine, I think there's room for improvement!

    Ruthi I think it's good your GP referred you - better that than just saying 'it's to be expected at your age!' and leaving you worried! Also the cognitive site did give a lot of useful tips as to how to improve diet/exercise so there's plenty you can do to help yourself. I agree with Marz, you sound fine and write very well!

  • The thing that tripped me up in the test was those grid locations! I had paid attention to position at all, too busy with the linguistic aspects! But of course redoing the test with that knowledge will skew the results.

    It's good thing in that I will either know I am OK, or know what to plan for.

    Still not told the husband.

  • Well, I saw the memory specialist a couple of weeks ago. He reckons that, while I have clearly had some decline in my memory, that there is no evidence that its not simply due to age and stress.

    Hubby is re-assured, and I, being in a half full mood have focused on the fact he said it is difficult to diagnose in the early stages with very clever people. Without being big headed, I know I am clever. But that is no use if you can't remember to turn the gas off!

    He did do some basic tests, and I came out with flying colours. So no justification for expensive MRIs!

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