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Aging Parents: Memory & Aging

A change in memory or memory loss is a normal part of aging, but other factors can increase the pace of it. Memory loss can be caused by stress, depression or neurological (brain) conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychologists and their teams work to assess your current health and to diagnose and/or rule out disease to get patients on the right path toward treatment.

Memory loss can also be caused by certain medications, which is why it’s important to discuss your concerns with your physician. They can help find the root of the problem and create a plan to either reverse the memory loss, prevent future loss, or compensate for deficiencies caused by a neurodegenerative disorder. If you are experiencing frequent memory loss, it is important to discuss it with your doctor, as you may be a candidate for a neuropsychological assessment. A neuropsychological assessment can also be beneficial for patients that don’t have signs of memory loss, as it can provide a baseline that your physician can compare any future tests to.

Patients are usually referred from neurologists or primary care physicians.

During a neuropsychological assessment, your care team will measure a variety of neurological functions and look for symptoms of any memory problem. First, a neuropsychologist will conduct an in-depth interview with the patient and a family member if they like, covering everything from their medical history to their educational and occupational history. The assessment then involves a battery of tests measuring factors such as attention, concentration, reasoning, memory, and language. Results of the tests and interview are then compared with a scale of normal memory loss for the patient’s age group and education level. LeBauer Neurology has a dedicated neuropsychologist who specializes in assessments of mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. MaryBeth Bailar is a clinical neuropsychologist with LeBauer Neurology and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. She received her Bachelor of Science in psychology at Otterbein College and both her Master of Science and Doctor of Science in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Bailar completed her predoctoral internship in neurorehabilitation and neuropsychology and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuropsychology and geropsychology at the VA Boston Healthcare System/Harvard Medical School.