My mom has mid-stage Alzheimer's. Recently she had several days of amazing clarity and memory after being sick with a cold. How can this be? - AgingCare.com

My mom has mid-stage Alzheimer's. Recently she had several days of amazing clarity and memory after being sick with a cold. How can this be?

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A similar incident happened to her 6 months ago, when she was hospitalized overnight for dehydration. She was sharp as a tack at the hospital, made eye contact with us and the doctors, and talked up a storm. This lasted for a few days after coming home, before reverting back to her baseline of having no short-term memory, being withdrawn and having a vacant stare. (We did keep her hydrated after returning home with her, so we didn't think that factored into the changes in cognition).

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I agree, Blannie. It's important just to enjoy these reprieves from the illness if/when we get them! They are a gift, as we get back the person we used to know, at least for a short time.
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Well, then your mom behavior is just as inexplicable as my mom's behavior. I doubt we'll be able to figure it out in our lifetimes. It could be as simple as a tiny piece of plaque that was clogging some vein/synapse breaking loose and more blood flowing through that synapse and clearing up her brain for a period of time. Just enjoy her newfound progress!
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Blannie, she did not run a fever. I did give her generic DayQuil for a few days and generic Nyquil for the past 2 nights. The clarity started before I actually gave medicine though. I don't think the cold meds are related to the change in cognition. But, you never know.
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Just out of curiosity, did your mom run a fever with her cold or did you give her any particular medication for her cold?
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Thank you freqflyer, blannie & SueC for your responses. I agree with Sue C that it is not show timing because this recent clarity is going on for too many days now. (It's actually still going on). Also, Mom is demonstrating true memory, both short and long term. With show timing, it would be more of an act she would be putting on to impress the doctors or others into believing that she knows what she's talking about. She definitely has done show timing in the past, but at mid-stage Alzheimer's (late stage 5), it is harder for her to pull it off these days. I agree with blannie that something about the cold probably triggered Mom's brain synapses somehow. It is truly amazing how little we do know about the brain.
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I'm with blannie.
We don't know enough about dementia to give exact answers and no two people will react the same at the same stage of dementia anyway.

My mom is in stage 6 Alzheimer's. She has no memory at all-recent or past. She isn't able to answer many questions, yet she remembers her sister, Lorraine. Why she can't remember the other 5 brothers and sisters, who knows?
Sometimes there is no explanation for how dementia works.

We've only been studying it a comparatively short time. People died much younger even 50-100 years ago. Our generation is really the first to deal with wide spread dementia. So we're learning as we go along.

I'm not sure the demented person could pull off several days of "show timing". I guess it depends on the degree of confusion.
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I think we don't understand the brain much at all. My mom, who didn't have Alzheimers but did have some form of dementia had days where she could remember things pretty well and other days where she couldn't begin to remember anything. I used to try to tie the differences in her ability to something like how much sleep she got, or what she ate, or what was happening in her life. I could never figure out any correlation to anything. I think we just don't understand the brain much at all.

I just recently learned there are certain genes in our bodies that are turned on by "heat shock". Which is why saunas help people live longer. Who knew? I think our bodies and brains are still largely mysterious, even to doctors. I would be the cold triggered some biological reaction that cleared mom's brain synapses for a short time.
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sincny, sounds like your Mom was doing what is called "showtiming", that is where a person with Alzheimer's/Dementia have amazing clarity while visiting a doctor or being in a hospital.... it's usually not as common in a hospital.

I tried to find an Article here on Aging Care about showtiming, but nothing came up in my search. Maybe other caregivers here can help you out.
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