Published July 5, 2017
To meet Western New York’s growing need for quality care for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center has expanded its clinics in Buffalo and Williamsville.
The downtown clinic serves approximately 700 patients.
“We are looking forward to the synergies that will result from having our clinics so close to where UB’s medical students are training,” says Kinga Szigeti, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology and the center’s director. “Our clinic expansions are proof of the growing demand for neurologists, neuropsychologists and other physicians who specialize in caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.”
The center uses a multidisciplinary approach, according to Szigeti. A team of neurologists, neuropsychologists, social workers and nurses conduct a detailed evaluation, including the patient’s medical history, and neurological and neuropsychological exams, as well as brain imaging.
“The goal is to differentiate between normal aging and mild cognitive impairment, which may be an early sign of dementia and various dementias,” she says.
The center addresses all stages of dementia, but Szigeti notes that research is beginning to focus more heavily on the disease’s earlier stages.
“We treat all stages of dementia, but more and more research is being conducted on mild cognitive impairment and early signs of Alzheimer’s disease with the goal of slowing or even stopping progression of this neurodegenerative disease,” she says.
To that end, the center’s physicians emphasize early screening and diagnosis. Cognitive assessments of patients for signs of memory loss are done. Such testing may involve simple word recall, the ability to draw a clock, or open-ended questions, such as asking patients to name items typically found in a supermarket.
“Some of the things we look for are when patients have trouble learning new information and saying it back,” she says. “That is a sign of Alzheimer’s, the rapid forgetting of new information.”
The goal is to begin treatment soon after diagnosis.
“With treatment, we can give patients more good years,” Szigeti says.