One out of every 10 individuals over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease, but Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Five to 10% of people with the disease have early-onset, appearing when they are in their 40s and 50s.
The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias continues to grow each year. By 2025, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to reach 7.1 million. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple to a projected 13.8 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure the disease.
The team of providers at UofL Physicians – Memory and Alzheimer’s Center works together to provide the best care possible for patients with conditions affecting memory and cognition. The patient’s care is orchestrated throughout a variety of specialties to provide the treatment needed. Our physicians are teachers and researchers in the University of Louisville School of Medicine, teaching the next generation of physicians with the latest technology and expertise.
Diseases and conditions
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. It is a progressive disease that results in a decline in cognitive function and the inability to carry out activities of daily living. Typically, Alzheimer’s disease begins with impairment in short-term memory and progresses to involve attention and organizational abilities, language and visual perception. Changes in behavior, including loss of motivation, depression, irritability and agitation are also common early on in Alzheimer’s disease.
UofL Physicians – Memory and Alzheimer’s Center treats conditions that affect cognition and memory including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain vascular disease (including stroke)
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Lewy body disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Effects of cancer chemotherapy
- Clinical depression
- Early-onset dementias
Treatments and services
Only 45% of people with Alzheimer’s disease or their caregivers report being told of their diagnosis.
Early diagnosis and treatment when symptoms are very mild provide the best opportunity to improve and maintain the quality of life of older adults, as well as relieve the tremendous economic burden associated with this condition. In the future, we hope to develop improved diagnostic tests which will allow us to begin treatment even prior to the occurrence of symptoms.
Patient care is integrated with research at the UofL School of Medicine to develop new treatments for Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and with training programs for the physicians, specialists, and other clinicians and researchers in the field. Researchers are looking for new treatments to alter the course of the disease and improve the quality of life for people with dementia.
UofL Physicians – Memory and Alzheimer’s Center performs an initial comprehensive evaluation which includes a detailed history and mental status examination. Exams include standardized cognitive testing, functional and depression testing, pertinent neurological and physical examination, laboratory testing, neuroimaging, and referral for neuropsychological testing and for consultation by other team members as necessary. The team identifies risk factors for future cognitive decline and protective factors that may slow future cognitive decline.
Patients then receive a holistic individualized treatment plan, which aims to reduce the impact of risk factors while promoting protective factors along with neuroprotective and cognition-enhancing drugs and supplements.