Center for Neurobehavioral Health

Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center

Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias

The Initial Consultation

This usually consists of a two-hour appointment, during which an extensive review of medical and social history takes place, and a brief assessment of neurobehavioral status is performed. Following this initial evaluation, a patient may then require no further testing, or may require a more thorough neuropsychological evaluation. 

Neuropsychological Evaluation

During the evaluation, a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Assessment Technician administer a series of tests that measure areas of brain functioning which may include: attention, executive functioning (planning and organization), memory, language, visuospatial abilities, sensory-perceptual functioning, fine and gross motor skills, academic performance, intellectual abilities, and behavioral/emotional functioning.

Laboratory Work-Up

As part of the evaluation process, a laboratory work-up is often required. This work-up eliminates treatable causes of mood and memory disorders. This may include tests for anemia, vitamins, high cholesterol, thyroid and ovarian hormone levels and tests for chronic infections, such as Lyme’s Disease. On occasion, tests for autoimmune illnesses, vasculitis, lead and other heavy metal levels, or genetic testing is required. We request that patients who are referred by their physician, complete the typical dementia lab work up prior to assessment.

Neuroimaging (MRI, SPECT, PET)

We may also request that the patient undergoes brain imaging studies.  Brain imaging includes both structural (CT scan or MRI scan) and functional imaging (fMRI, SPECT or PET scan).

After a Diagnosis is Made

Once the evaluation has been completed, a diagnosis is proposed and a treatment plan is formulated. The patient (and family) meets with our clinicians for a feedback session. The neuropsychological evaluation report, with treatment plan recommendations, is discussed and finalized in conjunction with the patient and the family, and is then forwarded to the referring healthcare provider.

Further Information

For in-depth information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of dementia, see the following information:

American Psychological Association Practice Organization  - “Guidelines for the Evaluation of Dementia and Age-Related Cognitive Change”

Alzheimer’s Association – “New Diagnostic Criteria and Guidelines for Alzheimer's Disease”

Alzheimer’s Association – “Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Dementia”

Contact Information

If you would like more information about the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center, please contact

Kristen Chapin-Lavigne, Office Manager

Phone: (518) 564-3377
Toll-Free Phone: (800) 388-0199
Fax: (518) 564-3313
E-mail: klavi001@plattsburgh.edu

Mailing Address

Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center
Beaumont Hall 211
101 Broad St.
Plattsburgh, NY 12901