Many people experience forgetfulness and speech problems at an advanced age. This can be due to normal, age-related processes, but may also be the result of an underlying neurological disease. The early detection of dementia is of utmost importance, as patients – as well as their family and social surroundings – can benefit from a diagnosis and treatment.
At our memory clinic, we conduct thorough diagnostic testing for memory dysfunctions and other cognitive functions such as concentration, speech, orientation, and perception through a number of diagnostic avenues. We also provide specific guidance for patients with an onset of symptoms prior to the age of 65, patients with unclear symptoms, patients with rapidly worsening symptoms, or patients with familial clusters of dementia.
Initially we conduct a thorough exploration with the affected individual, ideally with a close family member or person present. Here, we work to identify the problem and map out a plan for further diagnostic testing together. One component of this diagnoistic workup is often neuropsychological testing, where we can identify the type and degree of disability. In this testing procedure, we examine different aspects of cognitive functions such as memory, attention, or speech functions. We try to identify if other factors such as depression might be having an influence on a patient’s abilities. If problems are identified in speech areas, we follow up with logopaedic testing.
Additionally, we run diagnostic testing of parameters in the blood to exclude general organic causes that need to be treated separately (i.e. malnutrition, hyopothyroidism, etc.). We arrange for detailed brain imaging tests in the form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). In some cases, we conduct highly specialized nuclear medicine tests (PET – positron emission tomography) to portray the brain’s glucose metabolism (FDG PET) or to diagnose pathological protein deposits in the brain (amyloid PET). Sometimes we also conduct testing of cerebrospinal fluid regarding specific diagnostically relevant proteins (Aß, Tau, pTau). For some of the listed examinations, an in-patient stay can be necessary.
After conclusion of the testing and diagnostic workup, we inform you about your diagnosis and discuss the probable course and prognosis if your disease. At the same time we also start you on medication and advise you on other supportive steps.
Being a university clinic with active research pursuits, we are sometimes able to offer new treatment avenues, which are still being internationally tested through clinical trials that have been approved in Austria. If this is a possibility for you, we will inform you about this during your visit at our clinic. Participation in a clinical trial is only possible after thorough information and consent of the individual and/or a legal representative.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Stögmann
and staff of the memory clinic