Comprehensive Brain Health Evaluation
There are many treatable causes of cognitive impairment. In order to identify and treat these possible causes we do a thorough neurological assessment of every person seen at the Brain Health Center. We also complete an extensive medical evaluation, which may include diagnostic imaging tests (MRI or CT scans), blood work, as well as a cognitive evaluation with our neuropsychologist. These, combined with a review of family medical history, and an evaluation of possible relevant psycho-social factors will aid in both determining a diagnosis and developing a comprehensive care plan.
A variety of diagnostic tests are conducted to rule out medical causes of cognitive impairment.
- Blood tests identify or rule out medical conditions that can contribute to cognitive impairment, such as:
- Infections: urinary tract infection, respiratory infection, sepsis, encephalitis
- Thyroid, hormone or other metabolic conditions
- Cerebral vascular disease or strokeOpens new window
- Kidney or liver failure
- Vitamin deficiency
- Imaging studies help identify conditions that mimic Alzheimer’s, and identify brain tumor, stroke, and changes in brain activity and can differentiate abnormal areas of the brain.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)Opens new window
- Computerized tomography (CT) scanOpens new window
- Positron emission tomography (PET)Opens new window
- Electroencephalography (EEG)Opens new window
- Sleep study Opens new windowcan identify conditions like sleep apnea and breathing disorders which can cause changes in cognition.
Medical and Medication Evaluation
Because particular medical conditions can cause cognitive impairment, the Brain Health Center’s staff reviews each individual’s medical records and personal and family history to identify a possible history of dementia, cardiovascular disease, head trauma and other conditions. The staff also completes an assessment of prescribed medications, alcohol use, and over-the-counter and recreational drug use, which may contribute to memory loss or other cognitive difficulties. An individualized care plan outlining recommendations for medical and behavioral interventions is developed based on the collective findings.
The Brain Health Center medical director and neurologist, Catherine Madison, M.D. provides principle care coordinating with the patient's primary care provider. She works to optimize the medication regime to include new drugs now available to enhance memory. Medications can also help manage related symptoms that can occur with dementia, such as confusion, agitation, depression, and sleep problems.
Neuropsychological testing is performed by the Brain Health Center’s dedicated clinical neuropsychologist and other providers to evaluate cognitive function and the relationship between the brain, behavior and mood.
A clinical neuropsychologist is a professional within the field of psychology with special expertise in the applied science of brain-behavior relationships. Clinical neuropsychologists use this knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and/or rehabilitation of patients across the lifespan with neurological, medical, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, as well as other cognitive and learning disorders.
The neuropsychologist screens patients who are having difficulty with short- and long-term memory, attention and concentration, word and name association and other symptoms that may worsen over time. They evaluate general intelligence, attention, memory span, judgment, and motor, sensory and speech ability. These tests help in the diagnosis and treatment of memory related conditions. Neuropsychology tests also access emotion stability and document impairments helping the neurologist and family to better understand how the patient’s disorder impacts individual’s daily living skills.