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Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms

Alzheimer's disease strips away our most human qualities – memory, personality, reasoning, and language – eventually preventing the ability of patients to perform the simplest everyday activities. In the United States alone, more than five million people suffer from Alzheimer's disease and this number is projected to grow to seven million by 2025.

Optimal care for this devastating condition, including an assessment of potential Alzheimer's disease symptoms, requires an integrated team approach that includes cognitive neurologists, neuropsychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and social workers.

What Are the Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that occurs when nerve cells in the brain die. The following are common Alzheimer's disease symptoms:

  • Impaired memory, thinking, and behavior
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Personality and behavior changes
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired communication
  • Inability to follow directions
  • Language deterioration
  • Impaired thought processes that involve visual and spatial awareness
  • Emotional apathy

Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Care at Brigham and Women's Hospital

Patients who believe that they may have Alzheimer's disease symptoms should contact a specialist for further evaluation.

Comprehensive care of patients at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) Alzheimer Center begins with a thorough evaluation. By establishing an accurate diagnosis from the beginning and identifying all the conditions that may be contributing to a patient's impairment, we lay the groundwork for an effective treatment plan.

After a detailed medical history is obtained, a series of assessments will be performed to identify the underlying neurological condition and to determine whether other medical conditions are contributing to a patient's cognitive impairment.

These evaluations may include:

  • Neurological exam – assesses physical capacities
  • Mental state exam – assesses cognitive abilities
  • Neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric assessment
  • Brain imaging
  • Blood tests
  • Spinal fluid assessment – to measure abnormal proteins in the spinal fluid.

Treatment and Support

Once the clinical team has established an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis, they will develop a detailed treatment plan tailored to the needs of each patient. Treatment will be based on the type of memory disorder involved, the stage of the disease, contributing conditions, and the goals of the patient and his/her family.

Treatments may include:

  • Medications
  • Education
  • Treating other conditions
  • Clinical trials

Neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital

The Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Neurology comprises a diverse yet integrated array of specialized clinical services, including inpatient and outpatient evaluation and management, second opinions for complex cases, diagnostic testing, and care for the most critically ill. This collaborative approach enables our team to provide patients with all the care they need in one location, providing a greater measure of safety, convenience, and satisfaction.

Patient- and Family-focused Care

Brigham and Women's Hospital has long been committed to not only the care of our patients but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care – involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment – is a guiding force behind the care we provide at the Department of Neurology.

Quality of Patient Care

Brigham and Women's Hospital is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and following established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our inpatient satisfaction survey, sent to patients to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and what areas may need improvement. We pride ourselves in the quality of patient care we provide and how we compare with other hospitals.

Brigham and Women's Hospital Neurology Team

The Department's multidisciplinary staff of more than 65 clinical faculty and over 350 department members strives to provide patient-focused, world-class medical care for the entire spectrum of neurological diseases. We have a strong focus on developing new treatments and cures for neurologic diseases, and we offer a variety of teaching programs that train the next generation of neurology professionals.

Contact Us

If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our Alzheimer's disease experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs, or fill out an online appointment request form.


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About BWH