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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness


A diagnosis turned on its head

A man’s symptoms appeared to signal Alzheimer’s, but doctors found it was something else: a treatable disorder caused by excess fluid on the brain

Jim Lambert got up in the middle of the night five years ago in his Chelmsford home to use the bathroom and fell flat on the floor. A cascade of health problems ensued that were as a nightmarish as they were mysterious.

The 72-year-old retired hospital fund-raiser lost his ability to walk in a straight line, and instead shuffled with an unsteady gait. He lost control of his bladder and bowels. An eloquent speaker and voracious reader, he suddenly couldn’t read or hold a conversation, and answered questions with short sentences.

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