Memory Loss & Disorders

Memory Loss & Disorders Overview

Most people experience some form of memory loss with age. However, memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a type of brain disorder that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is a gradually progressive condition with no current cure. Our professional staff provides access to leading-edge clinical trials and a multi-faceted approach to providing evaluations. While the ultimate goal is to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders, many of the trials aim at helping individuals prolong cognitive function, future treatment options and early detection.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative brain disease that currently affects more than 5 million people in the United States and is under-recognized as the sixth leading cause of death in our country. Although Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia in ages 65 and older, younger people are being diagnosed with increased frequency. Alzheimer’s destroys memories but also causes brain changes that can be even more devastating including loss of language, spatial orientation, interpersonal acumen, judgment, personality, and organizational skills. As pathological changes accumulate in the brain, individuals slowly lose their identity and their sense of self.

While patients may display limited insight into their own symptoms (anosognosia), caregivers suffer the tremendous burden, both physical and emotional, associated with caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. The impact that Alzheimer’s has on families and caregivers cannot be underestimated.

How is Alzheimer’s disease treated?

The first step in managing a patient with a neurocognitive disorder is to establish a diagnosis. Although Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, other diseases can cause similar symptoms. An appropriate clinical work-up may involve neuroimaging studies, laboratory tests, neurological, and neuropsychological evaluations. An accurate diagnosis helps clinicians to more effectively manage patients by avoiding inappropriate medications and enhancing the efficacy of available therapies.

Critical to long-term treatment is an early diagnosis. Improved diagnostic tools have enhanced our ability to understand the earliest phases, or even the prodromal phases, of Alzheimer’s disease. New classifications such as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) establish a framework for clinicians to coordinate a longer-term management plan that may anticipate future decline while also trying to maintain current levels of functioning.

Although we do not currently have a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, the humanistic instinct to alleviate suffering drives us to push for newer, more effective treatment alternatives. Since 2005, the Neurological Research Center (NRC) has worked to develop the expertise necessary to conduct leading-edge clinical trials. Hattiesburg Clinic has uniquely provided the infrastructure necessary to run these complex protocols.

Hattiesburg, MS
Memory Center
Hattiesburg Clinic - Main
415 S. 28th Ave.
6th Floor
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
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8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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