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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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My wife (60) has developed a peculiar behavior that is hard

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My wife (60) has developed a peculiar behavior that is hard to explain. 1) When I talk to her, She picks up only one or two key words in a sentence... and will interrupt my question with an answer that "she" thinks I am about to ask. Example: I say, "What day are we leaving next week?" She responds: "We are going out of town next week"! I'll say "When" are we leaving" She'll say "I told you last week we were leaving!" I'll say what "day" are we leaving. She'll say I told you yesterday!

The closest I can describe this the old Laurel and Hardy "whose on first" comedy routine. But this is not funny. The more I repeat myself, the more she semi-panicks and starts firing answers... like a gameshow. I have to tell her to "stop talking" and listen to my question! 50% of those times she doesn't get the answer matching with the question.

The only other pattern I see developing is tha she doesn't remember short-term logic discussions. "why we can't hang that heavy picture in that particular place." She will sugest the same place and ask "why not" maybe 1 day later! When I tell her we tlked about this yesterday, she usually remembers having the discussion.

Otherwise she is a healthy, seamingly normal person. I am totally a wits end. she thinks she is just fine and I'm grouchy! Help!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

Your wife may be experiencing what is called a fluent or receptive aphasia. This can be caused by small strokes in language processing areas of the brain. In aphasia, no loss of general intelligence occurs, as is the case with dementia or a progressive disease process, such as Alzheimer's. If she had a stroke it was a small, localized one. You might want to check to see if her reading comprehension and expression are intact e.g., have her read a newspaper article and tell you what it means. There are often both hearing and reading comprehension problems with receptive aphasia, but not always.

Please make an appointment to see a clinical neuropsychologist and request a complete neuropsychological testing/evaluation. They can administer an exhaustive series of cognitive tests and quite finely pinpoint what happened, if a stroke or other neurological condition occurred. Alternatively, you can visit a neurologist, who can give you a variety of diagnostic possibilities, but won't give you the detailed 'summary' of where your wife functions in all cognitive domains compared to women her same age (memory, visual-motor functioning, information processing), as a neuropsychologist can.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. You can Google the topic: Receptive Aphasia and read more about it. Please hit the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen as well. Thanks.
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