Reverse Placebo: People Wrongly Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Go Senile

Psychologists in the Netherlands have documented the case of a 58-year-old woman who was misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her condition deteriorated to the point where she became permanently confused, and at one point suicidal — before another doctor realized the diagnosis was incorrect.

What happens to people who are wrongly diagnosed with having cognitive difficulties? It turns out that even if your brain is perfectly healthy, you’ll start having more problems with concentration.

io9: What happens when you’re wrongly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease

(Thanks Bill!)

See also: The placebo effect is real apparently even when you know it’s a placebo

1 Comment

  1. Wikipedia, Rosenhan Experiment:

    “Rosenhan’s study was done in two parts. The first part involved the use of healthy associates or ‘pseudopatients’ (three women and five men) who briefly simulated auditory hallucinations in an attempt to gain admission to 12 different psychiatric hospitals in five different states in various locations in the United States. All were admitted and diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. After admission, the pseudopatients acted normally and told staff that they felt fine and had not experienced any more hallucinations. Hospital staff failed to detect a single pseudopatient, and instead believed that all of the pseudopatients exhibited symptoms of ongoing mental illness. Several were confined for months. All were forced to admit to having a mental illness and agree to take antipsychotic drugs as a condition of their release. The second part involved an offended hospital challenging Rosenhan to send pseudo-patients to its facility, whom its staff would then detect. Rosenhan agreed, but sent no pseudopatients. Yet, out of 195 new patients in the following weeks, the staff identified 42 ordinary patients as impostors and suspected 48 more.”

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