Caring for Alzheimer's & Related Memory Disorders

Caring for Alzheimer's & Related Memory Disorders

At University of Utah Health's Center for Alzheimer's Care Imaging and Research (CACIR), we are dedicated to diagnosing and caring for Alzheimer’s and related memory disorders and finding more effective treatments for these devastating conditions. The Center works to raise dementia care standards by empowering patients, caregivers and physicians with the most current knowledge available, including the latest advances in research.

Each patient who visits CACIR receives care from a team of dementia experts, who work closely to provide definitive diagnosis and a personalized management plan. The Center employs state-of-the-art diagnostic methods such as positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to help distinguish between the many different causes of dementia.

We are most effective when we can see patients early and begin the appropriate interventions. Early detection is key to improving treatment for Alzheimer’s and memory disorders, so please come and see us as soon as you experience symptoms. Symptoms can include memory loss that disrupts daily life, impaired thinking ability, confusion, and changes in mood or personality.

Learn more about CACIR at www.utahmemory.org.

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What Is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 5 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer's disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.

The causes of dementia can vary, depending on the types of brain changes that may be taking place. Other dementias include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal disorders, and vascular dementia. It is common for people to have mixed dementia—a combination of two or more disorders, at least one of which is dementia. For example, some people have both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.*

*Courtesy: This content is produced and provided by the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health.