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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementias

The Department of Neurology at Cleveland Clinic Florida features a multi-disciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Our specialty trained team includes neurologists, neuropsychologists, and research coordinators. The team collaborates to provide every patient with an individualized treatment plan. The plan is tailored to each patient and may include recommendations for medications, physical exercise, diet, cognitive rehabilitation, psychiatric treatment, participation in clinical trials and family support. With comprehensive testing, our expert team can diagnose probable dementias with almost 90% accuracy.

Cleveland Clinic Florida’s Alzheimer’s specialists are an integral component of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and are equipped with the resources and technology to provide each patient with specialized care. The Center, founded by philanthropist Larry Ruvo, is dedicated to enhancing patient care by offering a new approach to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, dementias and other cognitive disorders. Our specialists can help patients manage their symptoms to improve cognitive functioning and quality of life. The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health also participates in collaborative research partnerships to investigate the next generation of drug therapies for the treatment of neurological diseases.

Treatment Outcomes

For more information about our success rates, services and programs, and research and education, please download the outcomes report.

Appointments

You may schedule an appointment online or by calling 877.463.2010.

Our world-class experts are specially trained to diagnose and treat a broad spectrum of cognitive disorders including:

Treatment

Medication Management

Our physicians use drug therapy as the primary method of disease management for these cognitive disorders. There are four medications currently approved for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). These medications are used to manage cognitive symptoms such as memory loss, disorientation, problems with thinking and reasoning in patients with AD. Medication is used to temporarily improve or slow down the worsening of cognitive decline. The most effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease integrate medication therapy with lifestyle interventions.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is also used in the treatment of many neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementias. Our facilities are staffed with licensed physical therapists trained to help patients strengthen the body to prevent falls, improve motor functions, and enhance their overall health and well being. Our therapists thoroughly evaluate each patient to identify specific goals and create an individualized treatment plan. Treatment plans are adjusted regularly based on the patient’s responses to therapeutic techniques.

Our staff uses a variety of physical therapy techniques including:

  • Neuromuscular re-education and motor retraining
  • Partial body weight-supported treadmill training
  • Range of motion, flexibility and strength training
  • Self-care/home management training

Cleveland Clinic Florida offers the most advanced imaging technology and testing in the diagnosis of cognitive disorders including:

Laboratory Tests - blood work is used to look for the presence of a specific gene identified as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. A urinalysis may be done to detect abnormalities, such as improper levels of sugar or protein.

Lumbar Puncture/Spinal Tap – procedure in which fluid surrounding the spinal cord is withdrawn through a needle. The fluid is later examined in a laboratory for concentrations of certain proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan – technique in which various X-rays are taken of the brain and later fed into a computer. The computer examines changes in the brain such as atrophy, widened indentions in the tissues and enlargement of the cerebral ventricles.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - uses powerful magnets and radio waves to generate detailed images of the brain. This imaging helps doctors see loss of volume in specific areas of the brain that are associated with AD and helps reveal disease progression.

Electroencephalography (EEG) – imaging tool that places special electrodes on the scalp to record electrical activity generated by the brain. It is used to identify disorders that can mimic AD by studying various brain processes such as perception, memory, attention, language, and emotion.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) – a recording of the heart's electrical activity registered as a graph or series of wavy lines on a moving strip of paper. It is sometimes used to help rule out other disorders that can cause symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan – nuclear medicine exam that reveals changes in brain metabolism relevant to many neurological disorders. Amyloid imaging via brain PET is expected to play an important role in evaluating the efficacy of new drug therapies in Alzheimer’s clinical trials.

Cleveland Clinic Florida is one of the clinical trial sites of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. The Center is at the forefront of developing new treatment and diagnostic approaches for patients with cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. There are many different types of clinical trials, from interventional (which include pill, infusion, device, diagnostic approach) to non-interventional (which include observations and follow-up without active treatment). Please visit our clinical research page for more information.