About Alzheimer’s Disease

Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains age as we grow older. However, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is not a normal part of aging. AD accounts for 60 percent to 80 percent of dementia diagnoses, and is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. As the population ages, and more people live longer, there are more people with AD. Symptoms typically begin with difficulty remembering newly learned information. As the disease progresses, common symptoms include changes in mood or behavior, disorientation, difficulty word finding, misplacing things, poor judgement and apathy.

Treating Alzheimer’s disease at UT Health Austin

Current treatments focus on supporting individuals and families with education and counseling, managing symptoms with medications, and treating behavioral symptoms. Scientists have not found a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there is much research interest and work in this area.

There are medications approved by the FDA to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), and galantamine (Razadyne®) are typically used to treat mild to moderate symptoms. Memantine (Namenda®) is a medication approved to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s. These medications affect chemicals in the brain that help with sending messages between neurons. These treatments may help manage symptoms but unfortunately, they are not a cure. They have proven effective for some but not all people, and are most effective in the earliest stages. The FDA has also approved Aricept® and Namzaric®, a combination of Namenda® and Aricept®.

Our clinic uses an interprofessional approach, which means our patients have contact with multiple team members coming from multiple specialties. Our team includes specialists in neurology, geriatric psychiatry, neuropsychology, nursing, clinical social work and speech and language pathology. We discuss each patient as a team to identify the diagnosis and to develop a tailored treatment plan specific to your needs. Whatever your needs are, our team is here to listen and work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is challenging emotionally, physically and financially. Our team is dedicated to supporting individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their family members through counseling, education and finding community resources.

About the Comprehensive Memory Center

The UT Health Austin Comprehensive Memory Center at the Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences serves patients and families who are living with neurodegenerative conditions that impact memory, behavior, and other cognitive functions. Our mission is to put patients and their loved ones at the center and to guide them through the diagnostic process and care journey. We want to help you live your best life, have hope and know that you are not alone. Call 1-833-UT-CARES or request an appointment online.