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This consists of an extensive history review of general medical, neurological, psychiatric and specialty examination. Following this initial evaluation, a patient may then require no further testing, or may require one or more of the following evaluations:
These tests are designed to elicit disturbances in memory and thinking. Just as a cardiac stress test is helpful in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heart disease and heart attacks, appropriately administered and properly interpreted neuropsychological tests are invaluable in brain dysfunction. The general battery lasts about two to three hours.
As part of a diagnostic work-up in some patients, a medical laboratory work-up is required. This work-up eliminates treatable causes of memory disorders. This may include tests for anemia, vitamin levels, thyroid and ovarian hormone levels and tests for chronic infections, such as Lyme Disease. On occasion, tests for autoimmune illnesses, vasculitis, lead and other heavy metal levels, or genetic testing is required. We request that our patients who are referred by their physician, complete the typical dementia lab work up prior to assessment.
At times we may request that the patient complete a brain imaging work up. Brain imaging includes both structural (CT scan or MRI scan) and functional imaging (SPECT or PET scan). CT or MRI scans are performed to rule out mini-strokes or other structural causes for memory loss. Tests are available locally. Read more.
Once these tests have been completed, a diagnosis is made and a treatment plan is formulated. The patient (and family, if desired) meets with our clinicians for an informing visit. The treatment plan is forwarded to the referring clinician and/or is discussed and finalized in conjunction with the patient and the family as needed.
For in-depth information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of dementia, see Robert I. Winer, M.D.'s lecture "Dementia Diagnosis and Treatment" on-line at the Winer Foundation's website.
If you would like more information about the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center, please contact
Kristen Chapin-Lavigne, Office ManagerPhone: (518) 564-3377
Mailing AddressAlzheimer's Disease Assistance Center