Diagnostic Evaluations – with treatment, care management, and follow up
Evaluations include dementia subspecialist clinical interview and neurocognitive examination. Additional testing may include laboratory testing, neuroimaging with:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
- Computed Tomography (CT)
- Detailed neuropsychological testing
Management may include social work assistance, referrals to community programs, genetic counseling, physical and occupational therapy strategies, in addition to medication interventions.
We are also committed to providing and discussing results of diagnostic tests with referring medical providers.
Meet with our social worker after your initial evaluation or your follow up appointment to receive assistance and referrals to community support programs. Receive guidance on managing the stressors of receiving a diagnosis, behavioral changes, and/or caregiver burnout. For more information on available resources (link to Resource tab).
A neuropsychological evaluation involves assessment (testing) with a group of standardized tests that are sensitive to the effects of brain dysfunction. Unlike CT or MRI scans which show abnormalities in the structure of the brain, or EEG, which shows electrical abnormalities in the brain, neuropsychological assessment is used to show the ways in which a person can or cannot perform certain functions or tasks that are dependent upon brain activity. These functions or tasks (for example, memory and learning) form the necessary building blocks of successful living in the individual's daily life. Impairment in many of these functions may exist because of brain abnormalities that cannot be detected on CT or MRI scans. Therefore, neuropsychological assessment is a procedure with a unique purpose; it can be used to reveal or diagnose brain dysfunction when no structural brain abnormalities can be seen. Furthermore, when structural abnormalities have been found, neuropsychological assessment provides a way to determine what functions may be impaired because of the structural defects, and to determine the degree to which they may be impaired. Tests include examination of:
- Short-term memory
- Long-term memory
- Spoken Language
Dementia is a broad term encompassing many diseases each having different causes. Although most dementia is sporadic, some diseases can be hereditary. When dementia runs in the family, patients and their relatives may choose to determine the disease gene so that they and their doctors have a better understanding of the nature of their disease as well as a way of predicting who else may be at risk.
Our genetic counselor is committed to providing the education, counseling, and support so that individuals with a family history of dementia may learn about their risk and make an informed decision about whether or not to have genetic testing. The decision to have genetic testing should not be made lightly because the result can affect one's life significantly. Columbia University has established a genetic testing protocol that requires genetic counseling sessions and a baseline neurological psychological evaluation prior to genetic testing. The genetic counselor will take a detailed family medical history, describe the genetics of the disease and options for genetic testing and genetic research, discuss the benefits and limitations of genetic testing, and the possible effects of testing for the patient and the family. The patient has the full support of our team of doctors and counselors when making their decision.
For more information on genetic counseling, please call our genetic counselor:
- Jill Goldman, MS, MPhil, CGC: 212-305-7382
After examination, individuals suffering from difficulty with gait, balance, and/or at risk of falls are referred by the specialist to our occupational therapist, Ashwini Rao for evaluation, referrals and education on home safety.
Meet with our research coordinators during your follow up visit to discuss eligibility options for participation in research. Learn more (link to research page).