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memory disorders and fitness

faqs

Memory loss can range from normal memory decrease as a result of aging to profound memory loss associated with dementias. It can occur as the result of head trauma, surgery, stroke, bypass surgeries and substance abuse.

How are memory disorders diagnosed?
How are memory disorders treated?
How does Advocate Christ Medical Center make a difference?
Frequently Asked Questions


How are memory disorders diagnosed?

The symptom of memory loss must be carefully evaluated as to the degree of loss and the exact cause in order to determine an appropriate course of treatment. Physicians begin with a screening test, based on the patient's age to assess overall well being. This evaluation helps doctors determine whether the patient's responses fall into normal range for their age. A physical health assessment is also administered to determine the patient's risk level.

Patients whose responses fall outside of the normal range then undergo a series of imaging tests to screen for specific conditions associated with memory loss. These include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - combines a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to create very detailed images of the brain and other organs or body structures. MRI is the most sensitive imaging technology for the brain, and can be very helpful identifying signs of vascular dementia and some signs of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Computed tomography (CT) - a non-invasive test that uses special X-ray equipment that captures many cross-sectional views ("slices") of an organ or area being examined. A computer then combines the many slices to create a two-dimensional view of the organ, tissue or blood vessel being examined. CT scans offer much more detail than traditional X-ray. At Christ Medical Center, patients benefit from state-of-the-art 64-slice CT scanning.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) - is a type of nuclear medicine imaging that uses a tiny amount of a radioactive material to help provide detailed images inside the body. Because the PET scan can show body functions including brain activity, it can be a helpful tool for identifying the signs of frontal lobe dementia.

How are memory disorders treated?

Treatment of memory loss is dependent upon the type of diagnosis. Patients with vascular dementia may be prescribe a lifestyle change to control cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as instituting exercise and smoking cessation programs. Doctors may also refer a patient to a neurologist or another specialist for treatment of the condition causing the patient's memory loss. Medication and cognitive rehabilitation exercises may be part of a treatment plan, as well.


How does Advocate Christ Medical Center make a difference?

Advocate Christ Medical Center offers a systematic approach to diagnosing and treating memory loss. We offer the most up-to-date technologies to determine the underling cause of each patient's memory loss, including 64-slice CT, MRI and PET. Our cognitive rehabilitation specialists utilize computerized cognitive rehabilitation tools to help patients experience memory function improvements. Our partnership with cardiologists at Christ Medical Center means that patients with vascular dementias receive multi-disciplinary care for preventable conditions.

We understand that memory loss impacts the patient and the family. Neuropsychiatrists at Christ Medical Center provide support to family members and caregivers through educational programs and assistance in obtaining the necessary services to support their loved ones. Our patient navigator coordinates all services and ensures that each patient follows the clinical path designated by our treatment plans.

Our Memory, Health and Fitness Clinic at Christ Medical Center, one of only a few of its kind in the United States, offers brain fitness programs to help improve memory function in patients with cognitive issues, as well as preserve brain fitness in healthy individuals.

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