Helping patients & families cope with dementia
Many neurological disorders can cause dementia, a loss of brain function that can affect memory, behavior, planning, language, attention and more. By far the most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease.
Particularly due to the growth of Alzheimer's disease, dementia is taking an enormous toll on our society. At the Dementia Clinic, we are committed to helping patients and families who have been affected.
Our team specializes in diagnosing various causes of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, mixed dementia. In addition, our top neurologists are skilled in managing its associated symptoms through treatments including exercise and medication, and educating family members on proper caregiving.
The Dementia Clinic at Tufts Medical Center in downtown Boston also sees some patients with Parkinson's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and multiple system atrophy (MSA) who are showing signs of cognitive impairment (declining brain function).
A leader in dementia care
When it comes to managing patients with dementia, the quality of the care team means everything. At Tufts MC, we have one of the best.
Tinatin Chabrashvili, MD, PhD, who heads our clinic, has been researching and treating neurodegenerative diseases since selecting Parkinson's Disease as a focus of her PhD thesis. Her training initially focused on movement disorders and later expanded to include other neurological disorders and stroke. Prior to joining Tufts MC in 2012, she was director of the Movement Disorders Program at Temple University Hospital and assistant professor at the Temple University School of Medicine.
Today, Dr. Chabrashvili's research focuses on neurovascular mechanisms of neurodegeneration. She is hopeful that her efforts eventually will lead to new therapies for patients with dementia.
Our team also includes a neuropsychologist, Haley LaMonica, PhD. Her expertise often helps us with the difficult task of diagnosing cases of early-stage dementia.
In addition, we realize the important role that families play in caring for patients with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. So our clinical nurse coordinator is always available for family members who have questions or need referrals to social support and other services.
Excellence in managing dementia-related symptoms
Many of our patients are referred to the Dementia Clinic to receive a definitive diagnosis. In these cases, we do a thorough evaluation to identify the neurodegenerative disease causing the dementia-related symptoms.
Once we make a diagnosis, we seek to manage the patient's symptoms as effectively as possible. Dr. Chabrashvili is continually exploring new and promising approaches for symptom management.
One of the best tools for fighting dementia and memory loss is activity, so we encourage patients to exercise regularly and stay engaged in life. We also work with families to ensure the patient eats right and lives in a safe, secure environment.
Depending on the nature of the patient's dementia, certain medications can address symptoms like memory loss or altered behavior. While medications may slow the progression of symptoms, however, they cannot treat the underlying neurodegenerative disease.
Dealing with dementia is a huge challenge for patients and families alike. At the Dementia Clinic, we understand. And we will be there for you with the latest approaches to symptom management and an attentive, compassionate touch.
As part of a major academic medical center, we believe in the importance of training tomorrow's leaders in neurology. Our clinic gives Tufts MC residents and fellows the opportunity to see dementia patients while learning about diagnostic methods, management guidelines and future directions in research and treatment.
We are available to consult with primary care physicians on managing the day-to-day medical problems that our patients face.