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Memory Disorders Clinic

At SCI's Memory Disorders Clinic, we evaluate and treat cognition, memory, and learning or attention-related disorders across the lifespan. SCI clinicians provide targeted assessments for school-age children, adolescents, and young adults and we also conduct comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations for middle- or older-age individuals who are concerned with cognitive or memory changes that may or may not be associated with traumatic brain injury.

Cognitive changes are a natural part of the aging process. There are, however, differences in the degree of these changes across people, with some individuals enjoying preserved neurocognitive health into their 80's and 90's, and others experiencing more drastic decline and onset of neurodegenerative disorders at a younger age. In addition to genetic influences, research has identified important lifestyle factors that appear to partially account for this variability. There are increasing concerns, for example, regarding the relationship between repeated concussion and dementia due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Protective factors, however, include regular exercise, adequate nutrition (particularly B-vitamins and other phytonutrients found in many vegetables and fruits, as well as DHA/omega-3), avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use, and proactive management of conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

Subtle cognitive changes typically precede the onset of dementing disorders by as many as seven to 10 years. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) has emerged as an identifiable condition and in some cases appears to be a transitional state preceding diagnosable dementia.

MCI is characterized by:

  • Memory complaints (in amnestic MCI)
  • Changes in language, attention or other mental functions that are noticeable, but not serious enough to interfere with activities of daily living, and not meeting criteria for a diagnosis of dementia
  • Areas of normal or preserved cognitive functioning
  • No other known medical or psychiatric condition to cause or fully explain the cognitive deficits

Knowing when cognitive changes are part of a normal, healthy aging process and when there may be cause for greater concern can be an anxious and stressful process. The highly skilled, inter-disciplinary clinicians at the Sports Concussion Institute can conduct an extensive and thorough evaluation to diagnose, rule-out, or treat even the most complex cognition and memory-associated difficulties.

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