Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Loss

Understandably, discovering that you have trouble with memory and thinking can be worrisome. You want answers and options. At the Cognitive Disorders Program, part of the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan Health System, our multidisciplinary team of experts has the experience and cutting-edge resources to properly diagnose you and create a treatment plan allowing you the best quality of life possible.

We see patients with a wide variety of cognitive disorders, including:

Multidisciplinary Care Across Specialty Lines

In addition to affecting thinking abilities, dementia and related disorders often are associated with other symptoms. This means that multidisciplinary, collaborative care is essential not only for proper diagnosis, but also for developing a comprehensive treatment plan individually tailored for you. We partner with specialists from Neuropsychology, the Movement Disorders Program, Nuclear Medicine, Neuroradiology and the Sleep Disorders Center, plus Geriatrics and Geriatric Psychiatry. We are housed in the Turner Geriatrics Center, which is the first facility in the U.S. specifically designed for geriatrics research and clinical programs. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranked the Center as one of the top geriatric programs in the country.

Diagnosing Your Disorder

In order to diagnose your disorder and create your treatment plan, we often schedule you for three comprehensive appointments. At your first visit you will meet one or more of our neurologists, who will review your symptoms and medical history and will conduct a neurologic exam to assess your thinking, strength, coordination, reflexes and more. Diagnostic testing that best fits your particular situation may be ordered and may include:

  • Brain imaging (such as magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography of the brain)
  • Blood tests
  • Electroencephalogram (to measure electrical activity in your brain)
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal fluid evaluation).

If needed, we can also conduct Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning, a procedure that is not widely available and is helpful in distinguishing Alzheimer’s disease from other forms of dementia. The second visit consists of a thorough neuropsychological assessment that checks your memory, attention, mood, language, problem solving and visual/spatial abilities. At your third visit, we will review your tests and provide a diagnosis and treatment plan.


Treatment recommendations depend on your diagnosis, but may include medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.  You may be eligible to participate in our clinical trials to receive the latest experimental therapies.

Degenerative brain diseases are chronic illnesses, and we have the resources to support you through the different stages of your disease. Our staff of dedicated social workers can assist you now and in the future by providing support, information, or referrals about important matters such as legal care, financial planning, residential living options, home health care services, transportation planning and driving assessment. Our social work division and our entire team are devoted to supporting you and your family through your illness.

Alzheimer's Disease Research

Research is a critical focus of our group. For over two decades, the Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Center (MADC) has contributed to the expanding knowledge on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Established in 1989, the Center is committed to enhancing participation in memory and aging research, furthering the understanding of diseases that result in cognitive impairment, promoting high quality clinical care, and providing current information on Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.  We are excited to discuss with you the research studies and clinical trials being conducted through our center.

Make an Appointment

For more information about dementia, Alzheimer's disease or other cognitive disorders, or to make an appointment with the Cognitive Disorders Program, call 734-764-6831.