Memory changes often progress slowly, which can make it difficult to assess if they are the result of normal aging or a more serious condition. In all cases, an accurate diagnosis in the early stages of neurodegenerative disease is the key to maintaining quality of life for patients and their caregivers. View a list of memory loss questions that can help determine if an evaluation by a neurologist may be necessary >
At Atlantic Health System Neuroscience's Memory and Cognitive Disorders Program, diagnosis begins with a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s medical history and an examination by a neurologist who has experience with dementia. This is often followed by neuropsychological tests that asses basic cognitive skills, like memory, language and attention. Lab work may also be prescribed.
Dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders are complex conditions that often require more than one test to diagnose properly. This is why in addition to evaluations and cognitive tests, we may recommend brain imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), position emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT). We also offer the CT PET with Cortex-ID™, which is a computer program that enables our clinicians to compare a patient’s brain PET/CT scan to a database of age-matched normal subjects to check for abnormalities.
Once testing is complete, a detailed summary of findings and recommended treatments is provided to the patient and referring physician. If possible, family members or close friends should accompany the patient to provide additional information and support. Results from any previous evaluations should be brought to the attention of our team.