Some Texas patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease may actually be suffering from memory loss related to traumatic brain injury. According to a new study that included 40 medical patients with an average age of 68 years old, up to 21% of older patients who have dementia might be misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association has reported that as many as 40% of dementia cases are the result of a condition other than Alzheimer’s.

The risk of misdiagnosis, according to the study, can be mitigated with the use of MRI scans. One of the authors, a research fellow at UCLA, said the study was designed to determine whether MRI scans could be used to find certain traumatic brain injury abnormalities. In the study, the scans showed that traumatic brain injury patients are likely to have more brain damage in the ventral diencephalon than in the hippocampus. The former area of the brain is responsible for emotions and learning, while the latter is associated with memory and the most affected by Alzheimer’s. The study involved examining MRI scans with specialized software.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 2.9 million people nationwide experienced a traumatic brain injury in 2014. The highest rates of traumatic brain injury are among those 75 years old or older.

A medical misdiagnosis can lead to injuries and claims for damages. People in Texas who have been harmed by a misdiagnosis might want to speak with a lawyer regarding potential malpractice claims. A lawyer could help by examining the facts of the case, interviewing or deposing witnesses and building a case for trial. In some cases, a lawyer can negotiate an out-of-court settlement on behalf of the client.