Dementia is a general term for lasting confusion or cognitive impairment that includes a number of symptoms including at least two of the following:

  • Memory loss
  • Language problems such as wordfinding difficulties
  • Impaired visual perception and recognition
  • Difficulty with skilled motor tasks
  • Impaired judgment and reasoning
  • Loss of motivation, planning ability, and organizational skills
  • Problems with calculations
  • Behavioral problems, including suspiciousness, paranoia, and agitation

Dementia is caused by or exacerbated by a number of different disorders:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders
  • Other degenerative brain diseases, including front temporal dementia (Pick's disease), Lewy body dementia, and others
  • Strokes (vascular dementia)
  • Depression
  • Medication side effects
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Alcohol and other toxic conditions
  • Kidney, liver, cardiac, or respiratory failure
  • Subdural hematomas
  • Tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Prion diseases (similar to Mad Cow disease)
  • Infectious diseases

Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia

Since there are many causes for dementia, it is usually necessary for a patient to undergo a detailed examination (which includes at least a screening test of memory and other intellectual abilities), neurological assessment, brain scan (CT or MRI), and blood tests before the diagnosis can be made or treatment can be initiated. In specific instances, other tests including EEG, lumbar puncture (spinal tap) for spinal fluid analysis, or certain genetic tests may also be performed.

Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology program offers state-of-the art and comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, education, and support for patients with dementia and their families. Outpatient consultations and evaluations include clinical examination and cognitive screening assessment provided by a multi-disciplinary team that includes physicians, neuropsychologists, nurses, counselors, and psychometricians.