Memory Disorders Center

A memory disorder, or memory loss, is a problem that some people have in storing or retrieving memories. It can be mild or severe, and is often the result of a disease or injury that affects the brain. One form of memory disorder is anterograde amnesia, in which you may remember events from the distant past, but will be unable to remember what happened a few minutes or hours ago. The most widely-known form of memory disorder is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer's not only causes memory loss, but affects thinking and behavior, too. Early evaluation is important since reversible or partly reversible medical symptoms can often be treated. Other neurological and psychiatric conditions may have similar symptoms to memory impairment problems and can be mistaken for a neurodegenerative condition like Alzheimer's disease.

The Memory Disorders Center at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute of North Shore-LIJ Health System is dedicated to diagnosing and treating neurological memory disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of memory loss and impairment. Patients and families can look forward to receiving expert treatment with the utmost compassion, sensitivity and respect.

The North Shore-LIJ Health System has established the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders under the leadership of Peter Davies, PhD, a world-renowned Alzheimer's disease researcher. The Litwin-Zucker Center is a large research and clinical program devoted to the study of Alzheimer’s disease at every level, from basic biology to clinical trials. Nearly two dozen scientists from The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research are involved in dozens of basic and clinical projects dedicated to improving the lives of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related memory loss and impairment disorders.

The goal of the Litwin-Zucker Research Center is to figure out what causes Alzheimer’s and identify ways to detect and treat the debilitating disease. The center has a number of clinical studies that test the benefits of current treatments over the course of the disease. Our scientists work in four different labs, each with their own goals for research:

  • Laboratory for Alzheimer's Disease Research - Peter Davies, PhD
  • Laboratory of Memory Disorders - Philippe Marambaud, PhD
  • Laboratory of Transcriptional Profiling - Concepcion Goldberg, PhD
  • Program for Alzheimer's Disease: Clinical Research - Peter Davies, PhD

Neuropsychology Program
The neuropsychology program at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute provides assessments and inpatient consultations to children and adults with acquired or developmental and movement disorders.

A neuropsychological evaluation is performed to help understand how the different areas and systems of the brain are working. Examinations are usually recommended when there are symptoms or complaints involving memory or other areas of thinking. Common among adult patients are progressive cognitive changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or following an acute event such as traumatic brain injury or stroke.

Pediatric clients are often referred for learning difficulties due to developmental disorders such as learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.

A neuropsychological evaluation typically consists of an interview and formal examination. During the interview, information that is important for the neuropsychologist to consider will be reviewed. The assessment involves paper-and-pencil tests, computerized tests and answering questions. An interview is typically held at the conclusion of the assessment and a written report is provided to the referring doctor.

A typical neuropsychological evaluation can involve assessment of the following:

  • General intellect
  • Higher level executive abilities (e.g., sequencing, reasoning, problem solving)
  • Attention and concentration
  • Learning and memory
  • Language
  • Visual-spatial abilities (e.g., perception)
  • Motor and sensory abilities
  • Academic skills
  • Mood and personality

The evaluation can be used to understand a patient’s situation in a number of ways:

  • Identification of cognitive difficulties — the examination can be utilized to identify weaknesses in specific areas of cognition. It is very sensitive to mild memory and thinking problems that might not be obvious in other ways.
  • Differential diagnosis — different illnesses result in different patterns of strength and weakness. Therefore, the examination can also be used to help differentiate among illnesses. This is important since appropriate treatment depends on accurate diagnosis.
  • Establishment of a baseline — sometimes the examination is used to establish a baseline or to document a person’s skills at the onset or before a cognitive problem arises. This way, later change can be measured very objectively.
  • Documentation of change — following the establishment of a baseline, successive examination can be utilized to document change over the progression of a disorder, as well as the effects of surgical, medical and behavioral treatments on the patient’s neurocognitive status.
  • Treatment planning — the examination can be used to identify target problems to plan treatments that use a patient’s cognitive strengths to compensate for weaknesses.

Make an appointment at the Memory Disorders Center
Cushing Neuroscience Institute’s Memory Disorders Center makes it easy for you to take the first steps in ensuring the best neurological and neurosurgical care for yourself or your family. Simply fill out our Request an Appointment form, email us at neuro@nshs.edu or call us at (516) 325-7000.