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Memory Disorders

When you start having trouble with your short-term memory, you can’t seem to perform multiple steps in a task, or your personality has changed, it may be time to schedule a dementia evaluation.

 

At New York Neuropsychological Services in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, Nicole Murray, Psy.D., performs many types of dementia assessments that can detect and diagnose dementia or predict your risk for progressing to dementia.

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What should I know about the different types of dementia?

Dementia refers to changes in your memory and thinking ability that are severe enough to interfere with your daily functioning.

There are four types of dementia that get progressively worse as you get older:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia that makes a person appear like they are going back to days in the past. In this form of dementia, a person's long-term memory remains intact while short-term memory, or memories of more recent years, are more likely to be forgotten. 

  • Vascular Dementia is a type of dementia that occurs as a result of problems with one's cardiovascular disease like mini-strokes. These mini-strokes can cause harm to the brain, so you're more likely to see symptoms of Vascular Dementia immediately following a stroke. It can look like changes in personality, concentrate, and other cognitive symptoms.

  • Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is relatively common form of dementia that is likely to be misdiagnosed. It appears to be a cross between Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease because there is the added appearance of rigidity or physical stiffness in the body. A defining characteristic of (LBD) is an individual may experience visual hallucinations, or see things that are not really there.

  • Fronto Temporal Dementia (FTD) is a type of dementia that impacts the frontal and temporal parts of the brain. The frontal lobe is responsible for our behavior and the temporal lobe is responsible for cognition and emotion. The symptoms of this dementia may look more like a person is withdrawing into themselves, lacks interest, and may even stop emotionally responding to things around them.  

Dementia is also caused by a range of medical conditions, including kidney disease and vitamin deficiencies. When an underlying disease is the cause, your memory may improve as the condition is treated.

What happens during a dementia evaluation?

When you’re worried about memory loss or personality changes and you schedule a dementia evaluation, the first step is usually a quick screening to determine the likelihood of cognitive problems.

If that test reveals a reason for concern, Dr. Murray performs an in-depth neuropsychological evaluation of your brain function. These are examples of the skills evaluated during a dementia evaluation:

  • Memory

  • Language

  • Visual perception

  • Executive function

  • Mood and behavior

  • Attention and processing speed

  • Visual perception

When assessing attention, the tests may evaluate if it takes you longer to complete routine tasks or perform math calculations. Common problems with language include not being able to think of the word you want to use or having a hard time understanding communication.

Once your dementia evaluation is complete, Dr. Murray works with you and your family to develop an individualized treatment plan, helping you find the support you need, and recommending medications that slow the progression of certain types of dementia.

Now accepting new patients for telehealth appointments