Saturday, January 05, 2008

Nonfocal TNAs

Well this explains a lot. I've been wondering what causes my Mom's wildly fluctuating mental status, sometimes calling me first thing in the morning to request that I bring her the latest Newsweek, other days not even knowing my name.

Nonfocal TNAs or transient neurological attacks, that's what. As opposed to focal TNAs which are also known as TIAs (I stands for ischemic as in tissue without oxygen) which cause focal deficits such as weakness on one side or difficulty speaking, nonfocal TNAs leave a patient with non-localizing problems such as confusion or transient global amnesia (see older post below). Persons with mixed TNAs, some focal, some not, have a non-amusing array of days spent lacking now the use of a hand, another day the use of a leg, now and then disoriented or dizzy, or another perhaps with expressive aphasia (inability to find and use the right words). Mom's been there, done it all.

News from Rotterdam* suggests that my Mom, with her mixed TNAs, has the worst trouble of all. Shoot, I didn't need any fancy European data to know that, but it's always reassuring in a sad sort of way to understand what's what. Researchers there followed 6,000 some oldish sorts--55 and above--over ten years to see who transiently struggled with neurological troubles and who ended up with a stroke, a heart attack, or demented. Those with the focal variety had twice the risk of stroke but no greater risk for heart attack or dementia compared with the aging control group with no TNAs at all. Those with nonfocal TNAs had 1.5 times the risk of stroke and dementia, but the mixed-up mixed group had over twice the risk of heart attack, stroke, vascular death, AND 3.45 times the incidence of dementia.
*Bos, MJ, et al. JAMA. 2007 Dec 26;298(24):2877-85.


JeanMac said...

Thinking of you - and thanks for the informative post.

janemariemd said...

Thanks for this post--I glanced at this JAMA issue briefly but now I will go back to it and read the article!!

"his-self" said...

This is very informative and explains some things about my 89 yr old dad! Your blog is really interesting for me, a non-medical type.

P.S. If you're just looking for food, don't go to the B&B, it's average cafe style...

Laura in L.A. said...

I want to tell you again that I learn so much from all you post about! (And you've been on a roll, lately, writing so much; thank you, thank you, thank you!)

I am so sorry that your Mom may have the worst of the TNAs. I so want her to catch a break on something! I just wish our parents could be lucid and not in pain. That's what I pray for. Love to you and your Mom.

Femail doc said...

And comments like these keep me rolling; thank you all for the feedback, and for the good wishes to me and mine!