Dick Wagner has played lead guitar for some heavy-hitter rock bands like Kiss, Aerosmith and Alice Cooper. For a while, however, what seemed to be the rock star's dementia made him think his guitar days were over. Wagner suffered a stroke and heart attack a few years ago, and an odd gait and mental fuzziness that later developed led him to believe his career was over and dementia was setting in for the long haul. ABC News shared on Jan. 16 that the rocker got good news with the right diagnosis and his career is back on track.
After multiple medical issues that held him back from playing the guitar, Dick Wagner, 70, got good news. The rock star's dementia was actually normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), a condition which puts pressure on nerves that control things like cognitive function, the bladder and legs. Wager had a shunt put in his head, and he experienced a remarkable turn-around. He is back to playing guitar with a band in Denmark and touring, something he didn't think would happen again.
NPH oftentimes mimics aspects of Alzheimer dementia and the motor skill challenges of Parkinson's. While many people have not heard of NPH, it affects 200,000 to 400,000 Americans and is typically diagnosed with an MRI or CT scan. The causes of normal pressure hydrocephalus are unknown, and getting the proper diagnosis can be tricky.
Dick Wagner is thrilled with the turn his health has taken, as he feels almost back to normal now. Perhaps this rock star's dementia story can help bring about awareness of NPH so others can work with their doctors to see if their issues are being properly treated. Now that he's playing guitar again, Wagner is playing concerts and even producing records on the independent label Desert Dreams Records. Many fans who remember his rocker days are thrilled to hear he is back to playing guitar again.