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Neuroscience Institute

Dementia

Concerns about a decline in memory function can happen at any age but frequently increase after age 50. Accurate and early diagnosis of neurological disorders that may cause impairment in memory and thinking is important since many symptoms can be secondary to treatable conditions. Patients with concerns about their memory and the possibility of having a  form of dementia have been evaluated and treated at our organization since its inception. Patients may be referred for imaging, laboratory studies, genetic testing, and neuropsychological testing as part of a thorough evaluation and to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

We provide care to patients with dementia and cognitive impairment secondary to:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Pick’s disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Brain tumor
  • Encephalitis
  • Head injury
  • Alcohol abuse

The most common cause of memory dysfunction after age 50 is Alzheimer's disease and currently this disorder is best evaluated clinically (i.e., by obtaining information about the patient's clinical history and ruling out other treatable causes of cognitive impairment). Many normal older adults also have concerns about their memory, and neuropsychological testing is the most reliable way to differentiate between normal aging and the early signs of Alzheimer's disease and other causes of dementia.

Mild cognitive impairment, a condition in which an individual has more subtle deficits and is not showing impairment severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of dementia, has been shown to be a risk factor for the development of dementia. This disorder can be best identified with neuropsychological testing and patients should be followed over time to better document whether they are developing a neurodegenerative disorder.

In addition, depression and anxiety, which are treatable with medication and behavioral interventions, can cause memory and cognitive problems and can cause increased concern about one's mental abilities. Accurate diagnosis and education help ensure that patients receive appropriate treatment.


Learn more about Dementia in our Health Library.

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