Memory impairment is very common in older people, with up to 20% of people over 65 considered to have sufficient decline in their memory to warrant the diagnosis of “mild cognitive impairment”. Some people with mild cognitive impairment may have the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease and be at risk of developing dementia in the future, and this can prompt visits to their GPs and to memory clinics. However, the pen-and-paper memory tests used in these clinics cannot distinguish early Alzheimer’s disease from memory impairment due to normal aging, and to do so requires more expert assessment and specialist investigations.
Initial consultations with Dr Chan will last up to 60 minutes and will involve an in-depth discussion of symptoms, ideally also including the opinion of family and/or friends, followed by testing of memory and thinking and concluding with plans for diagnostic investigations such as brain scanning, using state-of-the-art high resolution MRI. Follow-up consultations will focus on the post-investigation diagnosis and associated long term management plans, including where appropriate prescription of medications and recommendations about lifestyle alterations for reducing the risk of developing dementia in the future.