How We Can Help
Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment Information
Once a likely diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is made, we use an integrated approach to treat your symptoms and take steps to preserve your cognitive abilities and independence for as long as possible.
- Making a diagnosis. When you seek answers to your memory problems or dementia symptoms, your physician will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your health. You will undergo a complete physical exam, including a review of your family and personal medical history.
- Diagnostic tests. Your physician will complete many different evaluations. They may include:
- Neurological exam. This procedure tests your body functions including mental status, sensory skills, reflexes and speech.
- Laboratory tests. We examine your blood and urine to get chemical information about your condition.
- Lumbar puncture (Aβeta, Tau, Phosphotau levels in cerebrospinal fluid). Also called a spinal tap, this test evaluates changes in your cerebrospinal fluid, such as protein levels, which can indicate a build up of the abnormal clusters of proteins called plaques that develop in Alzheimer’s disease.
- Imaging tests. By taking a detailed look at the tissues in your brain, your physician can spot changes common to Alzheimer’s disease and rule out other conditions such as a brain tumor.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We use MRIs to more closely see the physical structure of the tissues in your brain. We look for a pattern of tissue shrinkage common in Alzheimer’s patients.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) (FDG). PET images help us see where amyloid plaques or clusters of scar tissue are located in your brain. PET scans also show how your brain cells are using glucose, which can indicate deficits related to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Genetic testing. We use genetic testing to look for specific genetic mutations associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This helps us confirm a diagnosis and may allow us to identify someone with the disease before symptoms appear. Starting treatment early can greatly improve your quality of life.
- Medicines. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved medicines to treat Alzheimer's disease in its early, middle and late stages. These drugs may improve levels of or help regulate the neurotransmitters your nerve cells use to communicate with each other. Drugs may help to maintain memory, thinking and speech skills but they do not stop the degenerative process of the disease. Donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine are used for mild to moderate symptoms. Memantine may help patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. We also prescribe antidepressants, anti-anxiety and sleep medicines to treat symptoms and behavioral changes.
- Quality of life. When you have Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to stay healthy, eat well, and maintain social interactions and exercise. Our team of physical, occupational and behavioral therapists and dietitians work with you and your family to manage your symptoms and maintain your wellbeing through neurological rehabilitation.
- Research. Our investigational work into the causes, genetics and biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is leading to advancements in testing, earlier diagnosis and potential new medicine therapies that can better treat symptoms and lengthen life. Studies taking place at the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center give patients access to clinical trials.
Alzheimer’s Disease Locations & Physicians
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Alzheimer’s Disease Support Services
Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease treatments at these websites:
A Sampling of Alzheimer’s Disease Support Services
This national nonprofit is dedicated to creating a world without Alzheimer’s by funding research and supporting individuals and families living with the condition and dementia.
National Institute on Aging
This government agency provides extensive online information about Alzheimer’s disease including causes, symptoms and treatments.
National Institute of Health Senior Health
This site covers all aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, including participation in research and additional resources.