Memory disorders are characterized by the degeneration of brain function that occurs over the course of years, or even decades, and leads to compromises in cognitive function such as memory, learning ability, problem solving and more. The consequences of memory disorders, the most common of which is dementia, are wide-ranging and cause significant compromise to quality-of-life, both for the patient and those caring for them.
Dementia is the most common of the memory disorders that we treat, and is also the umbrella term for several sub-types. Most often occurring later in life, dementia involves slow, irreversible decline in cognitive ability. It is often first suspected when elderly patients begin to show significant memory-related cognitive decline. Learn more about Dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease — the most common cause of dementia — healthy brain tissue degenerates severely, causing a steady and profound decline in memory, as well as intellectual and social abilities.
Winthrop Neuroscience Medical PC and Winthrop Geriatric Medicine Associates have collaborated together to create the Alzheimer’s Program at NYU Winthrop Hospital. This program is committed to providing high quality care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. By utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to care, we are able to leverage the strengths of our Geriatric Medicine, Neurosciences, Psychiatry, Psychology, Social Work, Pharmacy and Home Care programs. We believe that this approach allows for the best possible care for our patients. Learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease.
Other forms of dementia include:
- Huntington’s Disease
- HIV Dementia
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies
- Vascular Dementia
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild Cognitive Impairment is distinct from dementia and represents a decline in cognitive function that is noticeable and even measurable, but has not yet created an impediment to overall physical or mental function. Diagnosis of MCI relies heavily on a physician’s judgement based on medical history, risk factors, and some diagnostic testing. Most importantly, there is evidence to suggest that MCI represents the very earliest stages of more significant memory disorders such as dementia, and should be recognized and treated as soon as possible.
Amnesia represents difficulty or inability to retain information. Although amnesia is associated with accidents or trauma, these cases are only one of many causes. Other causes can include medications, substance abuse, diseases, and even vitamin deficiencies. While amnesia can mimic dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment, it is not necessarily a sign of either disorder.
In Delirium, another memory disorder involves a sudden change in a person’s mental status, which leads to confusion, disruption of the sleep-wake cycles and unusual behavior. While not a part of normal aging, the risk increases with age. Although there is no cure, there are treatments, including medications, that may improve patients’ quality of life.
Contrary to a common misconception, memory disorders are not limited to the elderly. Patients under the age of fifty who experience these diseases are known as early onset. Early detection is key to slowing cognitive decline, therefore, patients and their families that suspect a memory disorder should seek immediate care. Of course, a host of other conditions can mimic the general symptoms of memory disorders, any number of which require medical care. This makes a proper diagnosis by a qualified physician important.
Directors of this program are:
- Irving Gomolin, MD, FRCPC, FACP, Chief, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Chief, Division of Clinical Pharmacology.
Our dedicated staff Include:
- Lucia DiSpirito, LMSW, Neuroscience Social Worker
- Linda Martinez, LCSW,ASW-G, Geriatric Social Worker