Alzheimer's disease is a disorder in which protein deposits (plaques) collect in the brain, causing nerve cells (neurons) to degenerate and eventually die. This process leaves behind substances called tangles. As your nerve cells lose function, you'll experience a steady loss of memory and other thinking abilities (cognitive skills) and gradually lose your independence. Alzheimer's disease can't be cured, but doctors can help you manage your condition.
Each patient who visits the center's cognitive disorders clinic is assessed by a health care team comprised of a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, a neuropsychology technician, a health educator, and a social worker. Based on this assessment, the patient receives a definitive diagnosis and a personalized management plan.
Early diagnosis is key to improving Alzheimer's and dementia treatment. Our cognitive disorders clinic employs state-of-the-art diagnostic methods, including positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, a technique that enables definitive early diagnosis of Alzheimer's.
We conduct translational, patient-oriented, multidisciplinary clinical research that brings advances in fundamental and social sciences to the routine practice of dementia care. We deliver the latest brain imaging technologies to clinicians treating patients with dementia at the time and place where decisions are made regarding risk, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. We form an alliance between patients and their families with dementia specialists and researchers permitting those who benefit to also contribute. We develop and model innovative care systems that link medical care with community resources to support patients with dementia and their families.
There are many causes of dementia. These include depression, polypharmacy, and other medical conditions. Consequently, the diagnosis of Alzheimer's should never be made until a thorough medical evaluation has been performed. While there is no cure for Alzheimer's, patients can improve their lives significantly through the management of their symptoms.
Your call to the Alzheimer's Center will initiate the following diagnostic evaluation: Patient and Family Interview
After an initial telephone interview, a packet will be mailed to a designated primary caregiver. This packet, when completed, will provide a great deal of information about the patient to the physician team. Next, family members or friends will meet with a clinician to review and clarify the history and current needs for care. Obtaining a thorough patient history is critical for establishing a differential diagnosis. This is also an opportunity for the family to learn more about Alzheimer's and other dementias.
Separate physical and neurological examinations are performed to rule out certain diseases, detect contributing factors, and determine the most likely type of dementia.
Intellectual abilities, including memory, language, calculation, and judgment, are measured. The pattern of cognitive deficits is critical in determining a diagnosis. We evaluate areas of strength as well as a weakness - important considerations in terms of treatment and lifestyle planning.
Multi-disciplinary Team Conference
Our team reviews its findings, a diagnosis, treatment plan, and referral recommendations are determined.
The diagnosis and individualized recommendations are explained to the patient and family. Questions are encouraged, and a medical report is sent to the patient's primary care doctor.
Patient re-evaluation is provided annually, with new resource referrals provided as appropriate. Of course, our staff is available for consultation as needed.