July 20, 2024
New clinic treats patients with reversible condition often mistaken for dementia
Symptoms of NPH typically appear in patients 60 or older.
Symptoms of NPH typically appear in patients 60 or older.

Thousands of Canadians who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia may actually have a rare “impostor” syndrome that can be reversed with surgery, and a new clinic in Toronto is hoping to identify and treat those patients.

The condition is called normal pressure hydrocephalus, or NPH, and it comes with symptoms deceptively similar to dementia and Parkinson’s: memory impairment, a shuffling gait, difficulty standing and walking.

In some cases, patients with NPH are misdiagnosed and never receive the treatment they need – a devastating and costly oversight for the healthcare system, according to Dr. Alfonso Fasano, staff neurologist with the Movement Disorders Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital.

“They are often in nursing homes or they are a burden for family and caregivers. And with the proper diagnosis and treatment, these people have a completely different path in their life,” Dr. Fasano told CTV News.

Some estimates have suggested that around 15,000 patients in Canada with NPH may be misdiagnosed with more serious conditions.