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Memory Disorders (Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia)

The memory disorders program at The Nebraska Medical Center diagnoses treats and helps patients manage their memory condition on a daily basis. As people age, 40 percent of the population will experience some form of dementia. Dementia is a mental disorder that affects the ability to think, speak, reason, remember and move. Most will experience a slight decline in memory that is associated with normal aging. However, when memory loss interferes with the ability to perform daily activities, a more serious cause may be at the root. Many types of dementia exist. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease are also common.

Symptoms of Dementia

Early symptoms of dementia include short-term memory loss that affects daily living functions like remembering people and directions, problem solving, balancing the checkbook, misplacing items or sudden mood swings. Some types of dementia get worse with time and cannot be cured. However, the symptoms for almost all types of dementia can be improved.

Diagnosing and Evaluating Dementia

Anyone with significant memory loss or signs of dementia should have a complete medical evaluation that includes a review of past medical problems, current medications, an examination which tests memory and cognition as well as looks for signs of neurological disease.

Routine diagnostic evaluations may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Brain imaging; with either a computer assisted tomography (CAT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Neuropsychological tests
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

Dementia Treatment

Continued testing, medications to manage symptoms and rehabilitation services are available through the memory disorders program. Our physicians will provide referrals to community services, area agencies and support groups. When there are clinical trials patients may participate in, physicians at The Nebraska Medical Center and informed of the latest clinical trials for patients with dementia.

About Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, affects roughly about 2 percent of people by age 65. However, by age 85, that number climbs to 30 to 40 percent.

Read more about Alzheimer's disease in the health library.

Topics in the article include:

  • What is Alzheimer's disease?
  • How is Alzheimer's different from dementia?
  • What causes Alzheimer's
  • Warning signs of Alzheimer's
  • Diagnosing Alzheimer's
  • Alzheimer's prevention
  • Treating Alzheimer's
  • Rehabilitation for Alzheimer's