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Alzheimer's disease is devastating — for you and the people who love you. Although intense investigation has been underway for many years, the causes of Alzheimer's disease are not entirely known. While there's no cure for it yet and no way to turn back the damage, there are treatments that can improve symptoms and your quality of life. 

New research findings offer hope. Researchers are studying medicines that may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (dementia) and improve memory for a time. 

When you choose University of Missouri Health Care, our team can help you get the latest, most promising health care treatments. Because we’re an academic health center, our doctors and researchers know about the newest treatment advances. 

A MU Health Care, you’ll get help from a care team that knows about the discoveries that can make a difference in your quality of life. It’s comforting to know that you have the region’s most experienced team by your side.

What are the warning signs of the disease?

Each individual may experience symptoms differently, but the Alzheimer's Association has suggested looking for these 10 warning signs:

  • Memory changes that disrupt daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood or personality

How we diagnose Alzheimer’s

There’s no single test that tells if someone has Alzheimer’s disease. Your doctor will do tests to rule out other problems and confirm your condition. Tests may include: 

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Imaging exams, such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Tests to learn about brain function (mental health testing and tests on cognition, which means how a person thinks and understands)
  • Electroencephalogram (also called EEG, this test measures the brain’s electrical activity without using surgery)
  • Genetic (family traits) testing 

How we treat Alzheimer's

Specific treatment is determined by our team of experts and is based on:

  • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • Extent of the disease
  • Your age, overall health and medical history
  • Your opinion or preference
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies

At this time, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, no way of slowing down the progression and no treatment available to reverse the deterioration. New research findings give reason for hope, and several drugs are being studied in clinical trials to determine if they can slow the progress of the disease or improve memory for a period of time.

There are some medications available to assist in managing some of the most troubling symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, including the following:

  • Behavioral disturbance
  • Depression
  • Sleeplessness

Care that improves quality of life

We take a team approach to your care to make sure you have the support you need through all stages of Alzheimer’s disease, including:

  • Education for you and your loved ones about your condition, so you’ll know what to expect
  • Help with planning for long-term care
  • Support and resources for caregivers

We make sure you and your loved ones have the health care services, resources and support to make you as comfortable as possible.