Comprehensive Brain Health Evaluation
There are many treatable conditions which cause memory loss, for this reason, we do a thorough individualized evaluation of every person seen at the Brain Health Center. In order to identify and treat these possible causes we complete an extensive medical evaluation which may include diagnostic imaging tests (MRI or CT scans) and a cognitive evaluation with our neuropsychologist. Because a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is difficult to diagnose, we take a comprehensive family history and rule out all possible memory loss causes.
A variety of diagnostic tests are conducted to rule out medical causes of memory loss.
- Blood tests identify or rule out medical conditions that can contribute to memory 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 identifies 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 memory loss.
Medical and Medication Evaluation
Because medications or particular medical conditions can increase the incidence of memory loss the Brain Health Center’s staff reviews each individual’s medical records and personal and family history for a 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 can also contribute to memory loss or difficulties. An individualized care plan outlining recommendations for medical and behavioral interventions is presented at the end of the evaluation.
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.