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There are a number of degenerative disorders that affect the brain, causing memory loss, language difficulties (speaking or understanding), visual perception changes, or other changes in intellectual function. These disorders can also cause changes in personality or behavior. When the disorder is significant enough to impair person's function at home, in hobbies, or at work, it is called dementia.

Older male and female couple talk, pensive mood

Alzheimer's disease is the most common degenerative disorder that causes dementia. More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease or related disorders, including 4.9 million people over the age of 65 and about 500,000 people younger than 65 with early-onset Alzheimer's and other types of dementias. Other disorders include Lewy Body disease, frontotemporal dementia, vascular cognitive impairment, and Huntington's disease, which also lead to progressive loss of mental function.

Doctors at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have special expertise in evaluating and treating Alzheimer's and related disorders and have helped set the standard of care for these illnesses. Our physicians co-authored the American Academy of Neurology guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of dementia and normal pressure hydrocephalus and for the use of genetic testing in families with Alzheimer's disease. Patients receive compassionate and respectful care from a multidisciplinary team which includes neurologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, nurses, social workers, genetic counselors, and rehabilitation specialists. Support services are also available for family members and caregivers.

We offer the full spectrum of patient care services through our Memory Disorders Program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the Lucy G. Moses Center for Memory and Behavioral Disorders at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. Physicians in these programs are members of our Neurology and Neurosurgery Departments, which consistently rank among the top five in the nation in U.S. News and World Report, and number one in New York City.

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