Dolly and her husband Benedict have two dogs, Munchkin and Mushu, whom she brings for walks daily.

When Dolly Leow noticed that she had become more forgetful, often losing her phone and car keys, her first suspicion was dementia.


There were other worrying signs, too. Dolly had trouble concentrating when reading and was unable to walk in a straight line; when she walked, she felt as if someone was pushing her, making it difficult to control her momentum.

At the urging of her friend, who worried that she would one day suffer a severe fall, Dolly consulted a specialist at NNI.

After a psychological test, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and lumbar puncture, she was diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), a condition that causes excess fluid to build up in the brain.

Dolly underwent shunt surgery to control fluid levels in her brain. Four months later, with the wonderful and loving support from her husband and meticulous care from the clinical nurses, she was living life to the fullest again. 

“I am glad I made the monumental decision to go for treatment and didn’t brush my symptoms off as just old-age problems. I urge everyone to listen to your body and take the initiative to get checked if you notice something amiss,” she said. “It took a while to adjust to living with the shunt, but improvements in my walking, memory and concentration was rather instantaneous. It was like a new lease of life for me. Now, I hardly even notice that I have a shunt.”

Life has not slowed down for Dolly since her surgery. At 67 years old, she is still actively working with children – imparting literacy skills, sharing her love for reading and telling stories.

Dolly at National Library Board’s 398.2 Storytelling Festival.

This article was published in the National Neuroscience Institute's NeusLink magazine, which covers articles about NNI updates and brain, spine, muscle and nerve conditions in English and Chinese - to read more articles click here!

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Hydrocephalus: A rare but treatable cause of dementia