Planting a misdiagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in a person's mind

H.L.G.J. Merckelbach*, M. Jelicic, C. Jonker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: There is an extensive corpus of knowledge about how misinformation may distort autobiographical memories. A diagnostic error can be conceptualised as a form of misinformation.

Methods: The authors discuss the case of a 58-year-old woman who was given a misdiagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

Results: The patient was deeply convinced that the diagnosis was correct, even when she was confronted with contradictory evidence.

Conclusion: A diagnosis is not a neutral piece of information. It profoundly affects the lives of patients. The consequences of a misdiagnosis may be similar to persistent false memories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-62
Number of pages3
JournalActa Neuropsychiatrica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cognition
  • memory
  • stress

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