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Memory Evaluation

The Emory Healthcare Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology Program is a sub-specialty clinic staffed byneurologists, neuropsychologists, nurses and social workers.  One of our areas of expertise is in the early detection of changes in memory and other cognitive abilities.We also evaluate people who are already exhibiting symptoms of dementia with the goal to help clarify the diagnosis and treatment.

Our Clinics

Dementia is a general term for confusion or cognitive impairment that includes at least two of the following:

  • memory loss
  • language problems such as word finding difficulties
  • impaired visual perception and recognition
  • difficulty with skilled motor tasks
  • impaired judgment and reasoning
  • loss of motivation, planning ability, and organizational skills
  • problems with calculations
  • behavioral problems, including suspiciousness, paranoia, and agitation

Dementia is caused by or exacerbated by a number of different disorders:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia (including Pick's disease)
  • Many additional lesser known neurodegenerative diseases
  • strokes (vascular dementia)
  • depression
  • medication side effects
  • vitamin deficiencies
  • hormonal imbalances
  • alcohol and other toxic conditions
  • kidney, liver, cardiac, or respiratory failure
  • subdural hematomas
  • tumors
  • multiple sclerosis
  • hydrocephalus
  • prion diseases (Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease)
  • infectious diseases

Since there are many causes for dementia, it is usually necessary for a patient to undergo a detailed examination which includes: Neurological exam, paper and pencil tests of memory and thinking abilities, brain scan (CT or MRI), and blood tests before the diagnosis can be made or treatment can be initiated. In specific instances, other tests including EEG, lumbar puncture (spinal tap) for spinal fluid analysis, or certain genetic tests may also be performed.

Education

Education and support programs are available for the person with memory problems and their family/support system. The Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center website maintains a list of current classes.

Research

Research studies and clinical trials are available for interested patients.  Some studies involve testing potential new medications or novel treatment approaches. Other studies involve observation over time. The Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center website maintains a current list of research studies that are enrolling volunteers.