Memory Disorders Clinic
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Memory Disorders Clinic Building PictureMost people have occasional memory lapses.  Often the problem is trivial or a normal consequence of stress or aging.  Sometimes the problem is more troublesome.   When memory lapses begin to interfere with everyday function, such as job performance or other independent functions, assistance from professionals who specialize in the problems of memory loss may be needed.  The Memory Disorders Clinic at Duke was designed to evaluate such problems.

Since 1986, the Memory Disorders Clinic has been treating a wide range of memory problems arising from diverse medical causes including neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's disease), vascular problems, and other neurological disorders).  As part of the Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Duke University Medical Center, the clinic provides diagnostic expertise, cutting-edge treatment, and research for memory problems.  Using the latest medical technologies and developments, such as structural/functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI/fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), the clinic provides a thorough evaluation of memory impairment, mental confusion, behavior changes, and intellectual decline.  The Memory Disorders Clinic staff work closely with the patient's personal physician to determine the cause of the memory problem and appropriate treatment. 

For a memory impaired patient, family members play an important informant and caregiver role.  The Memory Disorders Clinic staff meet with the family members to discuss the patient's diagnosis, care, and treatment.  A team approach including neurological, neuropsychological, geropsychiatric, and social work intervention are available to the patient and the family.  The Memory Disorders Clinic is a health service and resource to its patients.  It is also a clinical research site offering the opportunity for voluntary participation in clinical drug trials and other research studies.

Why Have an Memory Disorders Clinic Evaluation?
  • To rule out other medical problems that might cause memory issues. For example, severe memory loss may be caused by problems with circulation (cardiovascular), infections, thyroid or other hormonal problems, exposure to toxins and other poisons, taking certain kinds of medication together, strokes, severe depression, Parkinson's disease, or many years of heavy alcohol or drug abuse.
  • To ascertain what is causing the memory problem so it can be treated properly.
  • To obtain advice from medical professionals regarding ways to cope with memory loss and functional decline that may affect both the patient and family members.
Persons with the Following Symptoms Should Consider a Clinic Evaluation?
  • Slow steady memory loss over months or years.
  • Change in personality and behavior, such as moodiness, depression, sadness, or aggression.
  • Confusion about time and place.
  • Loss of ability to take care of one's self and loss of pride in personal appearance.
  • Lack of interest in usual daily activities or hobbies.
  • Loss of ability to make good decisions.
  • Increasing desire to be alone or stay home, away from other people.
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