In the UK most patients with a suspected diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease are referred by their GPs to Old Age Psychiatrists or Community Based Memory Assessment Services. However in Sussex we recognise that there may be selected patients with memory problems who would be better served by being also seen in a Specialist Neurology Cognitive Disorders Clinic. This may apply to younger patients, patients at the earlier stages of their illness or perhaps patients with other pre-existing neurological problems. As a result of this there is a Specialist Neurology Cognitive Disorders Clinic for patients with suspected dementia.
The first step is to establish if the patient has dementia and what the cause may be. There are many causes of dementia (not just Alzheimer’s disease) and still more causes of cognitive impairment so patients may require specialist neurology investigations and neuropsychology testing to establish a diagnosis. The Specialist Cognitive Disorders Neurology Clinic at Hurstwood Park was set up by Dr Dennis Chan, who in 2014 sadly left us to go to a Senior Lecturer post in Alzheimer’s research at Cambridge/ Addenbrooke’s Hospital; though his legacy for collaborative research for patients in Sussex still remains. The present Cognitive Disorders Neurology Service is now run by Dr Jonathan Knibb and Dr Basil Ridha. Dr Knibb has a particular interest in language disorders and Dr Ridha a particular interest in mechanisms of amyloid deposition.
We are fortunate to have two Consultant Neurologists with specialist expertise in this area working closely together with dementia research at Sussex University (Professor S Banerjee and Dr N Tabet) and with the Community Based Memory Assessment and Local Old Age Psychiatry Services providing for more comprehensive care beyond diagnosis.
For more information about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias see my Quick Links webpage