PHOENIX, Oct. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- After five years of suffering from
dementia-like symptoms and unable to play guitar, Alice Cooper's former bandmate
and guitar legend Dick Wagner has returned to music after having been
successfully treated for a commonly misdiagnosed brain condition. Wagner, 70,
was treated by Joseph Zabramski, MD, at Barrow Neurological Institute in
Phoenix, and today is back in the spotlight.
Wagner, who lives in Arizona, and co-wrote the majority of the Alice Cooper
Band's top selling songs, including the hit "Welcome to My Nightmare," thought
his profession as a guitarist was over when he began to exhibit symptoms such as
memory loss and gait.
"I couldn't turn to the left as I walked, I would often fall, and I could no
longer play guitar," says Wagner. I didn't know what was happening to me and I
thought my career was over."
Wagner sought help from Barrow Neurological Institute and was diagnosed with
normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), a condition caused by a build-up of spinal
fluid in the brain. The spinal fluid puts pressure on the nerves that control
the legs, bladder and cognitive function. The symptoms are similar to
Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's, but with NPH, they are reversible.
Wagner immediately began feeling his symptoms subside after undergoing surgery
in which neurosurgeon Dr. Zabramski surgically placed a permanent shunt in
Wagner's brain that drains a small amount of spinal fluid every day.
"I was like a new man overnight," says Wagner. "For five years I didn't have the
strength or coordination to pick up the guitar. That all changed immediately
after surgery. I got my life back."
NPH typically strikes after age 55. An estimated 200,000 to 400,000 Americans
suffer from NPH and the number is on the rise because of an aging population.
"Because NPH mimics the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's, the
condition is very difficult to diagnose," says Dr. Zabramski. "An estimated 5
percent of all dementia patients actually have NPH, which is correctable."
Barrow's Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center has created a clinic to screen and
diagnose NPH patients. The condition is diagnosed with a CT scan or MRI followed
by a spinal tap. Once a patient is diagnosed, they undergo surgery to implant
the shunt. Most patients instantly feel their symptoms reverse.
Wagner, who is also known for writing songs for KISS and Aerosmith, is now back
on the road touring and promoting a book he recently authored.
"I made a complete turnaround of my life after my surgery," says Wagner. "It
feels great to be back on the stage."
SOURCE Barrow Neurological Institute