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Brain Health and Memory Disorders

ECOB building where Brain Health Memory Disorders program is located

New and Current Patients
858-657-8540

For Referring Physicians

Locations

La Jolla
 9444 Medical Center Drive

Rancho Bernardo
 16950 Via Tazon

If you are experiencing changes in your memory or thinking, the first step is to get an accurate diagnosis and find out the cause. Medical conditions, poor sleep or medications may affect brain performance, as can brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease or stroke.

We can help by providing a comprehensive assessment by a team of experts. Our goal is to provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a personal treatment plan.

In addition to patient care, we offer support and educational services for family members. Our social work team can connect families to support groups and community services and resources.

Conditions We Treat

We diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that can impact memory, including:

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Mild Cognitive Impairment

Mild cognitive Impairment (MCI) mainly affects older adults. People with MCI have trouble with cognitive skills, such as remembering or thinking. These problems are worse than the normal mental changes that may occur as a person grows older. But they are not as severe as those caused by dementia. They do not impair independence or day-to-day living. MCI has many different causes and can be an early stage of a progressive disorder.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among older people. AD is a brain illness that usually occurs in older adults, but it can also happen as early as age 40. It is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse over time. Alzheimer's disease is caused by the build up of two proteins called amyloid beta protein and tau, forming structures called plaques and tangles. Nerve cells show progressive degeneration in the brain, resulting in memory loss and other symptoms of dementia.

Lewy Body Dementia and Cognitive Changes in Parkinson's Disease

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes can lead to problems with thinking, movement, sleep, behavior and mood. Lewy body dementia is one of the most common causes of dementia. There are two diagnoses of LBD — dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease dementia.

Vascular Cognitive Impairment

Vascular cognitive impairment, also called vascular dementia, is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease. It is caused when decreased blood flow damages brain tissue. Symptoms of vascular dementia may develop slowly, or they may develop after a stroke or major surgery, such as heart bypass surgery or abdominal surgery.

Progressive Aphasia

Aphasia is a language disorder caused by damage in the area of the brain that controls language expression and comprehension. Aphasia makes a person unable to communicate effectively with others. Although aphasia can occur after a stroke, progressive aphasia is not caused by strokes.  Most people with aphasia are in middle to old age.

Frontotemporal Dementia

Sometimes called Pick disease, Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a group of disorders that occur when nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain degenerate. This causes those areas of the brain to shrink and to lose their normal functions. FTD can affect behavior, personality, language and movement.

Subjective Cognitive Decline

Subjective cognitive decline is self-reported confusion or memory problems that have been happening more often or getting worse in the past 12 months.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Normal pressure hydrocephalus occurs when excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) accumulates in the brain's ventricles, causing thinking and reasoning problems, difficulty walking, and loss of bladder control. It's called normal pressure hydrocephalus because despite the excess fluid, the CSF pressure is often normal when it is measured during a spinal tap.

We can also address concerns about:

  • Young Onset Dementia
  • Rapidly progressive dementia
  • Cognitive changes after surgery or serious illness
  • Cognitive changes associated with sleep disorders
  • Brain health

Meet Our Specialists

Our team includes neurologists, geriatricians, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists and social workers. We are all dedicated to the diagnosis and ongoing management of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, with an added focus on promoting brain health. We provide access to the latest diagnostic and treatment methods.

Our specialists:

As leaders in the field, our experts conduct research to improve patient care and bring advanced knowledge and discoveries into the clinic. Many patients also have the option to participate in clinical trials for new medications and treatment options.

Why Choose Us?

We provide specialized services all in one place that you can't find at most medical centers: 

  • Multidisciplinary clinical assessment
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • MRI and PET imaging and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) biomarker testing
  • Comprehensive assessment for Spanish speakers
  • Advice about genetic or family risk
  • Medication counseling
  • Social work guidance
  • Management of neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • Access to support groups
  • Option to participate in research and clinical trials
  • Personalized approaches to improve brain health

We also can provide second opinions and virtual visits.

Memory, Aging and Resilience Clinic (MARC)

The Memory, Aging and Resilience Clinic (MARC) at UC San Diego Health also conducts cognitive and emotional evaluation of seniors. Individuals who receive initial testing at MARC often make their way to our Brain Health and Memory Disorders program for further neurologic testing and treatment.