Dementia refers to a decline in memory, language, and other cognitive functions that is severe enough to disrupt day-to-day, independent functions. Dementia can be caused by a wide variety of brain disorders.
Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia. It contributes to memory and other cognitive symptoms in more than 50% of Americans with dementia.
It is important to know that dementia is not a normal part of aging. While there is currently no cure for most of the diseases that cause dementia, many symptoms are treatable, and some rare causes can be stopped or even reversed. Our team has decades of experience identifying the disease processes that cause dementia and treating dementia symptoms.
University of Iowa Health Care neurologists who are trained in cognitive and behavioral neurology team up with other specialists to create a personalized care plan for you. We focus on providing compassionate care, accurate diagnosis, and the latest therapies.
Our researchers are constantly working on finding more effective ways to treat dementia symptoms.
Your partners: a multidisciplinary team of experts
Making sure you have the best possible care for dementia means having a care team that works together. You, your health care providers, and your caregivers are all part of the team.
The team works together on a treatment plan that centers on your health, your needs, and your preferences.
Your team will be led by a neurologist with specialized training and experience in cognitive and behavioral neurology. They'll examine you, recommend and order tests, and interpret the results. They will then communicate a diagnosis and recommendations to you, your caregivers, and your primary health care provider. They may also oversee medications and other therapies that are prescribed for you.
The latest research on treatments
UI Health Care is home to some of the nation's leading researchers on Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
When you're a patient here, you may be able to participate in clinical studies that help us learn more about these memory disorders and effective ways to treat them.
Some studies involve researchers observing you or reviewing an MRI of your brain. Others might include investigations of new drugs, behavioral therapies, and strategies for caregivers.
Our approach to Alzheimer's disease and dementia care
While there's no cure for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, some treatments are available.
For example, medication may be able to improve symptoms like seizures, depression, poor sleep quality, and aggressive behavior. Optimizing sleep, breathing, exercise, hydration, and cardiovascular function can help significantly.
Some medications may be able to improve cognition for a time, although their effects are often mild. Our experts will make recommendations on whether medication is right for you.
We know it's a challenge to manage the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes associated with dementia. We're committed to providing you and your caregivers with education and support every step of the way.
We'll help you learn about how dementia progresses, how to minimize stress, and the best ways for your loved ones to communicate and interact with you.
Alzheimer's and dementia tests and treatments
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Antipsychotic medications
- Cholinesterase-inhibiting medication
- Cognitive rehabilitation
- Cognitive testing
- CT and MRI scans showing brain structure
- Genetic testing
- Glutamate receptor modulator medication
- Imaging showing brain activity (FDG-PET scans)
- Laboratory tests for biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease
- Medication to improve sleep and circadian function
- Neuropsychological testing
- Sleep aids
Alzheimer's and dementia conditions treated
- Alzheimer's disease
- Autosomal dominant early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
- Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia
- c9orf72 frontotemporal dementia
- Cerebral amyloid angiopathy
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (dementia pugilistica)
- Corticobasal degeneration
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Dementia associated with parkinsonism (Dementia with Lewy bodies)
- Dementia in people with intellectual disabilities
- Dysexecutive / Behavioral-variant Alzheimer’s disease
- Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
- Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
- Hashimoto encephalopathy
- Herpes simplex encephalitis
- Hippocampal sclerosis
- Hypoxic-ischemic and hypoglycemic encephalopathy
- Korsakoff’s dementia
- Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease
- Lewy body disease
- Limbic-predominant, age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy syndrome
- Logopenic primary progressive aphaisa
- Memory impairment secondary to sleep disorders
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Multi-infarct dementia
- Multiple systems atrophy
- Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation
- Non-fluent / agrammatic primary progressive aphasia
- Normal-pressure hydrocephalus
- Parkinson’s disease dementia
- Paraneoplastic encephalitis dementia
- Parietal-variant Alzheimer’s disease
- Pick's disease
- Posterior Cortical Atrophy syndrome
- Primary age-related tauopathy
- Pre-senile dementia
- Prion diseases
- Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
- Semantic variant primary progressive aphasia
- Spongiform encephalopathy
- Traumatic brain injury
- Vascular cognitive impairment
- Vascular dementia