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memory loss and balance
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memory loss and balance

I'm 57 and have mild cognitive impairment. It affects my memory and learning.  I was diagnosed about 9 years ago.  I have an arachnoid cyst in my brain (left temporal lobe) and had a shunt inserted in 1998.  I've also had 4 mini strokes.  They were cause by hypercoagulable cerebrovascular disease with a circulating IGM (44) ( anticardiolopid antibody syndrome).  These have all been stable for the last 10 years and I have not had any major problems.  I also have an autoimmune disorder which causes inflamation (inflammation) in my body, especially in my legs.  I find it very difficult to climb stairs or get back up after stooping down.  

Last September I went to an acupuncturist to see if it could help with the inflamation (inflammation) in my legs.  And it did.  I felt a difference right away.  It was amazing.  I had 3 treatments.  But I started to feel some negative effects also.  My balance was noticably worse and my short term memory was also noticably worse.  i started to get very "foggy".  I discontinued because I was worried about the negative effects on my memory.  Having had 4 mini strokes and mild cognitive impairment makes me more at risk for Alzheimers.  My memory and balance both returned to normal after I stopped.

Last December 21, I started drinking Xango mangosteen juice.  And it was like the acupuncture all over again.  The inflamation (inflammation) went away in my legs, but I have the same negative effects with my balance and memory.  I'm still drinking the mangosteen juice to give it more of a chance, but I'm afraid I will have to discontinue it soon if the balance and memory problems don't go away.  I've had 2 occurencees of memory problems so far.

Does anyone have ANY idea, why I am always having a problem with memory and balance when my inflamation (inflammation) goes down?  I get so excited when I can get up the stairs so easily and then get so let down.  Any information would be appreciated.  Thank you.

Mary
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Dear Mary,

Thank you very much for your question. I am happy to address the issues that you pose, although it is important that you recognize that my impression is based entirely on the information you have provided in your posting and is by no means a replacement for an office visit with a neurologist.  Diagnosis is contingent on detailed history and physical exam and as such, the following information should be considered solely for educational purposes.

Foremost, I must be up-front by disclosing that I am not trained in the realm of alternative medicine and therefore cannot comment on the efficacy of treatments such as acupuncture or Xango mangosteen juice.  However, there are a number of key elements in your history upon which I can offer some commentary.  To recoup some of the main key points, you have a history of mild cognitive impairment, arachnoid cyst and shunt, multiple "mini strokes," and anticardiolipin antibody syndrome causing a hypercoaguable state .  Your autoimmune inflammatory process in your lower extremities may or may not be related to your anticardiolipin antibody (? lupus).  

Recently, you have begun to notice fluctuating balance and memory deficits which seem to correlate with the various homeopathic remedies you have tried.  Honestly, this is likely pure coincidence, although I must caution you that there are some alternative therapies/substances which may result in spasm of blood vessels and hence increase risk for stroke.  These remedies aside, you have considerable increased risk for stroke given your hypercoaguable autoimmune disease, and the waxing and waning symptoms may be reflective of changes in blood vessel caliber with-in your brain (AKA vasospasm) which can potentially result in stroke.

Because of all of the factors mentioned above, I urge you to make an appointment with a neurologist, in a particular a cerebrovascular/stroke doctor.  At that time, he or she may choose to pursue further testing such as an MRI and MRA (blood vessel test) to investigate your problem further.

Again, thank you very much for your question, and I wish you the best of luck.

Sincerely,
JBT, MD
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