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Mishaps with bees stings. History of hydrocephalus and short term memory loss. Suggest?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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I was diagnosed with hydrosephalus 22 years ago and am now 67. I had a shunt put in at that time. I was stung by a bee four days ago and the result was drooping of the left side of my mouth and then my head starts to go into a circling motion with a jerking motion. I have been stung before with same results but this time more severe. In the emergency room, while some medication was being applied through intervenous, my head moved back and forth very rapidly which never happened before. I was told the next time I get stung, it could be more severe. I am currently on clonzapam and have been on it before the shunt was inserted because my head started to jerk and would not stop. I have never had the shunt checked. Most of the doctors that I had seen during this time period tried to tell me the symptoms were stress or emotionally related. I had a head injury in the beginning then all the symptoms started and continued over the years. Whenever the jerking of my head occurs, usually with a bee sting or even spider bite, it takes me longer to get back to normal. I have short term memory loss because the shunt was not placed before the damage was done. My present doctor wishes for me to wheen myself off of the klonzapam because I have been on it for so long. After the bee sting incident and the next day I called my cousin, I have no recollection of doing so. Is this an indication that my shunt is not working properly after 20 years or so????
Posted Tue, 3 Sep 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 1 hour later

Thank you so much for this query.

I am so sorry to hear about this longstanding history of hydrocephalus and the mishaps with bees stings.

When the shunt gets blocked, it will manifest with signs and symptoms of increased intracranial pressure as the fluid cannot drain out. In this case, you will have sever headaches, poor vision, vomiting, dizziness, poor balance, urinary problems, etc. You are not complaining of any of these symptoms and I think this is highly unlikely at this time.

As we age, our memory gradually declines. Factors like hydrocephalus and surgical correction pose major risk factors of this memory declining faster than in the general population. This gets even worse if the shunt should malfunction. If you have started to exhibit some signs and symptoms of memory decline, then it is good that you should be evaluated for possible dementia related or unrelated to this history of hydrocephalus.

I believe a good starting point would be to do a CT scan of the head. This will give us much information on the anatomical state of the brain and whether there are any clues of shunt malfunction. Depending on the findings other investigations would be planned accordingly.

These head jerks that you have described are very suggestive of essential tremors. This is even more plausible given the response to treatment with clonazepam which is the drug of choice for this condition. Stress and anxiety often aggravate this.

Please, try and stay away from bees. This is because each subsequent sting is more serious than the first and it may soon prove fatal before timely corrected. Always dress with non shouting colours covering most of your body and limiting visitation of areas wit may bees. Do you walk with an epinephrine syringe? Please, ask your doctors.

I hope you find this helpful. Please, feel free to ask follow up questions if need be and I will gladly address them. I wish you the best of health.
Dr. Ditah, MD.
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Follow-up: Mishaps with bees stings. History of hydrocephalus and short term memory loss. Suggest? 22 hours later
Dr. Chobufo Ditah,
I am sorry it took me so long to see your answer but I don't have any of the objects that were requested to find your answer. I did have one more question to ask. What kind of damage if any is this doing to my brain when I have these episodes because of the violent jerking of my head?
Thank you!! very much for replying to my inquiry..
Sincerely, XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 3 hours later
Thanks for this follow up question.

I don't understand what you mean by the various objects that were requested before you could see my response. However, we sincerely apologise for whatever may have transpired to have caused this.

These movements, though violent are never that violent enough to cause a whiplash lesion in the brain stem or concussion lesions that can lead to neurological injuries. The main inconvenience of this is that it causes total disequilibrium and you cannot get any task executed because of the constant head movements.

Wish you well. if you have more questions, please, feel free to ask me and i will gladly address them.
Dr. Ditah, MD

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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