Memory and aging program evaluation
The Memory Disorders Clinic provides services to individuals with memory problems and their families. Every effort is made to schedule all procedures for the same day. The clinic scheduler will call you a few days before the visit to provide precise instructions for your visit.
Your first visit
The clinic will perform tests to determine whether you have a memory problem, how severe it is and if there are serious medical problems, such as brain tumors or low thyroid function. The clinic performs three types of testing: laboratory blood work, brain scan and memory testing.
Testing length depends on the severity of the problems. If the memory problem is severe, testing may take only 30 minutes. But if memory loss is mild, testing takes much longer (up to three or four hours) because subtle memory loss is harder to detect.
Blood work requires blood to be drawn from a vein in the arm. This process only takes a few minutes. Results of this test may take up to three weeks to return.
A brain scan takes 30-45 minutes. During scanning, the patient lies still on a table. The scan provides the doctor with a detailed picture of the current state of the brain. Let us know if a scan of the brain (CT or MRI) has been done in the last two years. Because we may view and interpret scans of the brain differently than the person who originally looked at the scan, we need actual films, not just a written report. We will compare any previous scans with the most recent scan.
During the memory test, the patient will talk to a certified test administrator who will ask many questions to determine not only memory capability, but also the ability to pay close attention and to think clearly. The administrator is only trained to administer the tests and cannot interpret the test or answer questions about the results. A neuropsychologist will interpret the test results and write them up in a formal report.
An appointment is scheduled only after evaluations and tests have been completed. The doctor at the Memory Disorders Clinic verifies the patient's history, examines the patient and then reviews the results of this examination, prior notes and all other information gathered during the evaluation process.
In most cases, this information allows the doctor to give an immediate diagnosis, answer questions the patient may have, discuss treatment options and give advice on what needs to be done in the future.
- At least one family member or caregiver must come to each visit with the patient.
- Bring a list of all medicines the patient currently uses to the visit with the physician.
- After the appointment, the doctor will complete a written note to the referring doctor detailing the diagnosis, test results and recommendations.
- The doctor will also send the results of the formal cognitive examination to the referring physician.