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A Patient's Guide to Memory Disorders

If you or a loved one is experiencing memory problems, experts at Cedars-Sinai are here for you. Our Jona Goldrich Center for Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders uses a team approach to deliver the best services for your needs. Find out more about the conditions we treat, get answers to frequently asked questions and learn more about therapies.


Evaluation and Diagnosis

At Cedars-Sinai, you have access to the latest advances in diagnosing and treating dementia and other memory disorders. We perform a comprehensive memory evaluation and answer your questions and concerns about brain health.

The memory evaluation process involves:

Pre-visit information

You complete a questionnaire before your visit, enabling us to get to know you better. If you have previously completed lab work, imaging studies or other related evaluations, please provide us with the copies of the records and results.

Initial office visit

You meet with our memory specialists. We review your medical and family history, conduct cognitive tests and perform a physical and neurologic exam. Please have a family member or friend who knows you well accompany you to this visit.

Additional tests

We may recommend lab work and imaging studies to rule out other conditions, such as strokes. You may also meet with a neuropsychologist who assesses the impact of thinking and memory problems on your daily life.

Follow-up visit

Our specialists review test results, discuss your diagnosis and provide a treatment plan. We discuss available clinical trials, research studies and community-based services, such as caregiver resources and support groups.


Memory Disorders Treatments and Services

You receive a personalized care plan that may include:

Medications

In certain types of memory disorders, medications may lessen the effect of symptoms on your daily life. We offer the latest options and recommend the ones that are best for your needs.

Care management

Our team works with Cedars-Sinai primary care physicians and specialists to provide seamless services. As experts in memory disorders and dementia, we help other providers deliver treatments that are consistent with your care goals.

Clinical trials

We offer clinical trials testing new treatments, care and detection methods. If you are eligible, we explain how you may benefit from participating.


Are Memory Difficulties Due to Old Age or Dementia?

The brain, like the rest of the body, changes as you age. As you get older, you may notice that you don’t process information as quickly. But forgetfulness that affects your everyday life is not a typical part of aging. 

Two senior citizens playing cards
If you notice any of these warning signs, see a dementia expert for an evaluation:
  • Memory loss that disrupts your daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing once-familiar tasks
  • Confusion about the time of day or where you are
  • Trouble interpreting images and spatial relationships
  • Problems finding the right words while speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing your ability to retrace your steps
  • Poor judgment
  • Withdrawing from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

*From the Alzheimer’s Association


Memory Disorders: Frequently Asked Questions

At Cedars-Sinai, you have access to the latest advances in diagnosing and treating dementia and other memory disorders. We perform a comprehensive memory evaluation and answer your questions and concerns about brain health.

There are currently no imaging or lab tests that diagnose dementia. A thorough neurological exam from an experienced dementia specialist is the best way to confirm a diagnosis.

During a neurological exam, you’ll be asked about significant changes in memory and other mental abilities that are affecting your daily life. Additional testing helps rule out other possible causes for your symptoms so we can determine the therapies and resources you may need. Find out more about evaluation and diagnosis.

Research has shown a link between depression and dementia. Sometimes, signs of depression are mistaken for dementia, but depression does not always develop into dementia. An evaluation from our experienced specialists helps you receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Medications may improve symptoms such as forgetfulness. But they cannot cure the disease, and their effectiveness may not last. There are different types of medications. Our team explains which ones may be right for your needs and what to expect.

Memory disorder symptoms typically unfold over many years. Dementia wears away at your abilities in the opposite order you acquired them as a child.

Mental functions that support reasoning and managing finances are among the last abilities we acquire. These tend to be the first functions affected by memory loss. Swallowing is something most of us have been doing since birth. This function tends to be among the last abilities people lose.

Not everyone with memory disorders experiences behavioral problems. Certain conditions, like frontotemporal dementia, typically cause behavioral issues. They often occur in more advanced stages of the disease.

Behavioral problems you may experience include:

  • Delusions, or false beliefs
  • Hallucinations, seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • Impulsivity, acting without thinking
  • Agitation, becoming angry or frustrated easily
  • Refusing to take medication, eat or sleep

Have Questions or Need a Second Opinion?

Our memory disorders experts can provide more information about your diagnosis or care options. Call us at 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771) to get started.