What Can a Neurologist Do For a Dementia Patient?

Ashok Bharucha

February 3, 2023

A neurologist is a medical doctor specializing in the brain, nervous system, and spinal cord disorders. Their training is extensive and includes years of study in college and medical school.

Neurologists typically perform a neurological exam to test mental status, the function of the cranial nerves (including vision), strength, coordination, reflexes, and sensation.


A neurologist can help your doctor diagnose dementia, a condition caused by deterioration or damage to the brain. The neurologist will review your medical and family history, assess your mental ability. Moreover, the neurologist will conduct laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Your neurologist will suggest you have one or more scans to check for other problems. That could explain your symptoms, such as a stroke or a brain tumor. These can include CAT (computerized axial tomography) scans, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, and SPECT (single photon emission computerized tomography) scans.

Once a diagnosis of dementia has been made, the neurologist can recommend the best treatment for you. It will help you plan ahead. They can offer advice on lifestyle modifications, medication, and other non-drug treatments to help you live well for as long as possible. They can also help you to find the best support services and resources to meet your needs.


Most types of dementia can’t be cured, but some treatment options are available to manage the symptoms. These include medications that boost the levels of a chemical messenger involved in memory and judgment called cholinesterase inhibitors. They include donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon) and galantamine (Razadyne).

Other treatments are designed to improve cognitive function or reduce behavior problems associated with dementia. For example, behavioral therapy may help with depression and aggression.

A neurologist can also help identify reversible causes of dementia and suggest non-drug interventions. Among these are lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and avoiding smoking, which can prevent brain disease.

Dementia may be caused by strokes or other issues with blood flow to the brain, a condition known as vascular dementia. This type of dementia usually develops gradually over time, but symptoms may occur suddenly (following a stroke) or in steps (after mini-strokes). Reversible causes of dementia may include medication side effects, increased brain pressure, vitamin deficiency, and thyroid hormone imbalance.


Many types of counseling are available for people with dementia, depending on their symptoms and stage. Counseling is a talking therapy that aims to help a person better understand their problems and explore ways to manage them.

Depression, anxiety, or grief are all common concerns for people with dementia. Counseling may help to manage these emotions and make them less depressing and hopeless, and it can also help a patient accept their diagnosis.

As well as helping patients deal with the diagnosis, counseling is often beneficial for caregivers, says licensed professional counselor Ruth Drew. “Caregivers can feel overwhelmed and confused about how to help their loved one with dementia,” she notes.

It’s essential for therapists to offer empathy and normalization when working with clients with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, says Gildehaus. She says they’ll need to use techniques that allow them to listen and process their client’s emotions.


The best way to monitor your loved one’s symptoms is to be on the lookout for any changes in behavior or memory. If you notice any signs of dementia, see a doctor immediately to get an accurate diagnosis. Then prompt access to therapies and care.

Unlike other chronic conditions, dementia progresses uniquely in each person. It may include changes in how a person interacts with their environment, such as hallucinations or difficulty swallowing.

Dementia can also affect a person’s physical health and well-being, causing problems with movement and coordination. For this reason, many patients require regular monitoring of their movements.

A wearable smartwatch and a server system are developed to provide these services. The system includes a GPS, accelerometer, and illumination sensor to collect real-time health information. A statistical algorithm then processes this data. This system can help caregivers to reduce stress and ensure the safety of their patients.