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 a professional evaluation 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 a neurological examination. This may be followed by blood work, memory test and brain imaging depending upon the level of memory loss. In some cases, more extensive or specialized testing is needed.
A neuropsychological evaluation consists of two parts: the clinical interview and test administration. During the clinical interview, the neuropsychologist meets with the patient (and often family members or caregivers) to discuss perceived changes in memory and other aspects of thinking and obtain information regarding medical history, family history, education/occupational history, as well as any changes in mood or behavior. The second part of the evaluation is conducted one-on-one with the neuropsychologist and the patient. The neuropsychologist administers standardized tests to assess cognitive skills such as memory, attention, and language. The patient’s performance is compared to that of his or her same-age peers to determine areas of strength and/or weakness and provide a diagnosis based on the pattern of results. Following the evaluation, the neuropsychologist provides a report which includes treatment recommendations such as memory strategies and support resources for the patient and caregiver.
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. 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 our attention.
Overlook Medical Center
Memory and Cognitive Disorders Program
Atlantic Neuroscience Institute
99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
- Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm
- Atlantic Neuroscience Institute
Physician services for memory and cognitive disorders are also available at Chilton Medical Center, Hackettstown Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center, Newton Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center. Find an Atlantic Health System doctor >