Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, irreversible brain disease that slowly destroys memory, thinking skills, and other important mental functions, including the ability to manage routine daily tasks. It is the most common cause of dementia, a group of brain disorders that leads to the loss of mental and social skills among older people.

Alzheimer’s is marked by a buildup in the brain of abnormal clusters of proteins called plaques, which are tangled strands of dead and dying nerve cells. This causes a loss of connections between nerve cells and interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. It usually gets worse slowly over time, and the time from diagnosis to death varies depending on many factors. There is no cure, but treatment can slow or delay the disease and help reduce some symptoms.

UAB Medicine’s Brain Aging & Memory Clinic, located at on the 5th Floor of the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, was created to care for people with memory problems, thinking problems, or other complex issues related to degeneration in the brain. These conditions are often complex, so the clinic uses a team approach that includes neurologists, nurse practitioners, and nurses, with support from nurse care managers, pharmacy specialists, social workers, and other professionals. The clinic’s goal is to maximize the well-being of our patients and their families, using medications as well as non-medical strategies.

Every clinic patient is assigned a physician and a nurse practitioner. We start with a full patient history and mental testing, which may be followed by laboratory tests, imaging studies (like CT, MRI, or PET scans), and more detailed mental assessments called neuropsychological testing. Results of these tests will help determine a care plan.

Patients also may be referred to experts in other areas, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, sleep specialists, and pain management specialists. Follow-up visits may include reviewing test results, assessing current abilities, reviewing medications, and discussing the care plan. The clinic also cooperates in conducting research studies to learn more about treating and managing memory disorders, so patients may have access to treatments not available at most other medical centers.

To make an appointment with the Brain Aging & Memory Clinic, please call 205-801-8986 or request an appointment online.

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