Explore This Treatment Program

Overview

The Memory Disorders Unit and the Frontotemporal Disorders Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital are tertiary care outpatient clinics located on the eighth floor of the Wang Ambulatory Care Center (WACC) of the hospital. We have several specialized services: the Memory Disorders Unit (MDU), the Frontotemporal Disorders Unit (FTD), the Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus clinic, and the Lewy body Dementia clinic. Each unit’s clinical staff consists of board-certified neurologists, geriatric psychiatrists, nurses and social work resource specialists who are fluent in a variety of languages, including French, Hebrew, Italian and Spanish. Complimentary translation and interpretation services in a variety of languages – including sign language – are provided by trained and certified personnel of the Mass General Medical Interpreter Services at all times.

Patients of the Units are treated with compassionate, courteous and professional care throughout their diagnostic, consultation and follow-up treatment visits. We require that all patients attend their appointments with a close family member or an individual who can provide reliable information about them. The services that we provide include:

  • Comprehensive medical and neurologic assessment, diagnosis and follow-up on pharmacological interventions for dementia symptoms
  • Psychiatric evaluation, monitoring and referral to specialists on an “as-needed” basis
  • Referral to the Mass General Psychology Assessment Center for neuropsychological examinations and follow-up evaluations
  • Referral to the Mass General Genetics Program for genetic counseling for rare cases of inherited memory disorders
  • Support groups and social service consultations for family members and caregivers
  • Participation in cutting-edge clinical trials and observational studies conducted by the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
  • Coordination with the Mass General International Patient Center for patients from other countries who seek medical care at Mass General

History

The Memory Division was established in 1982 when Dr. John H. Growdon first joined the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Department of Neurology and officially organized the current structure of the Division. Our main mission is to improve the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related forms of dementias -- with primary goals of finding effective treatments and eventual cures for these neurodegenerative diseases, and providing comprehensive care to patients and loved ones affected by such devastating disorders.

In 1984, Dr. Growdon also established our Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. The Center, now located at the MGH and the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, brings together a multidisciplinary team of biomedical, clinical science and behavioral scientists to conduct cutting-edge research in state-of-the-art settings, train the next generation of clinician-scientists, and conduct educational outreach to the public and underserved communities.

The current Director of the Memory Division and the Memory Disorders Unit is M. Teresa Gomez-Isla, MD, PhD. Dr. Gomez-Isla is the Anne B. Young, MD, PhD Endowed Chair in Neurodegenerative Diseases at MGH & Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.

The current Director of the Frontotemporal Disorders Unit is Bradford C. Dickerson, MD, MMSc. Dr. Dickerson is the Tom Rickles Chair in Progressive Aphasia Research at MGH & Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.

The current Director of the Lewy Body Dementia Unit is Stephen N. Gomperts, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.

The current Director of the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center is Bradley T. Hyman, MD, PhD. Dr. Hyman is the John B. Penney, Jr. Professor of Neurology at MGH & Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens in a new patient appointment and what can I expect?

A new patient’s initial clinic appointment will take about 75 minutes and will consist of reviewing a patient’s medical, neurologic and neuropsychiatric histories, clinical examination, discussion and counseling of the patient’s and family members’ concerns, and development of a follow-up treatment plan. Our clinicians may also order more in-depth tests for the patient that includes blood draws, neuroimaging scans (e.g., PET, MRI, etc...), neuropsychological tests or lumbar puncture procedures.

Will I have testing the same day as my appointment?

No. Typically, neuroimaging, neuropsychological tests and lumbar puncture procedures are scheduled on separate dates. You may have blood drawn the same day.

Why does someone have to accompany me and why can’t I come alone?

Since our patients have memory problems or other cognitive concerns, we require our patients to come to their clinic appointments with a close family member or an individual who can provide reliable information about their medical condition.

How often will I have appointments?

After the first appointment, our clinicians may order additional tests and a follow-up visit (known as a résumé visit) to review test results will be scheduled. After the résumé visit, most patients will be seen about every 6 months for follow-up visits.

Should I bring anything?

If available, please bring any pertinent medical records, neuroimaging scans, and an updated list of current medications.

How long are the appointments?

New patients’ initial visits: about 75 minutes, resume 30 minutes
Résumé visits: about 30 minutes
Follow up visits: about 45 minutes

Research

Our clinician-scientists are at the forefront of cutting-edge research in the neurodegenerative diseases, but we will need to partner with our patients and research participants in order to discover effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. Please click on the following links to learn more about our current research opportunities, or call 617-643-5200 to find out how you may join us in the fight against these pandemic brain diseases.

Patient Resources

Patients and their families have found these resources helpful.

What Is Dementia?

What Is Dementia?

Information from the Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Details about Alzheimer’s and dementia from the Alzheimer's Association

FTD Disorders

FTD Disorders

Information from the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

What is Lewy Body Dementia?

Information from the Lewy Body Dementia Association

What is Vascular Dementia?

What is Vascular Dementia?

Vascular dementia details from the Alzheimer's Association

¿Qué es la demencia?

¿Qué es la demencia?

Información de la Alzheimer’s Association

¿Qué es el Alzheimer?

¿Qué es el Alzheimer?

Información de la Alzheimer’s Association

Sobre Demencia Frontotemporal

Sobre Demencia Frontotemporal

Descripción de la enfermedad, de la Asociación de Demencia Frontotemporal