Our Program

The USC Memory and Aging Center at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles provides the most advanced diagnostic and treatment services available for Alzheimer’s disease, other types of dementias and diseases related to aging. The center includes the memory clinic, the National Institutes of Health Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) and two California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers. For more than 30 years, Keck Medicine of USC physicians and researchers have made major contributions to understanding Alzheimer’s disease, vascular brain injury and memory problems. Our team includes neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, physician assistants, nurses and social workers, all collaborating on diagnosis, treatment and research.

Our Approach

The USC Memory and Aging Center integrates advanced diagnostic techniques, modern treatments and the latest research to provide the most comprehensive care for memory disorders. With a diverse staff, ranging from social workers and psychologists to physicians and researchers, the center is able to decipher the very complex symptoms and causes of memory problems and dementias. Through the Alzheimer Disease Research Center, participants have access to leading studies of new medications and treatments that advance our knowledge of memory problems and aging. While Alzheimer’s disease currently has no cure, our program’s research and breadth of staff leads to comprehensive counseling and symptomatic treatments that can improve the quality of life.

Members of the public are also invited to register for the Brain Health Registry and take online brain tests to help our researchers find cures for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain disorders.

Conditions

The USC Memory and Aging Center provides diagnostic and treatment services through a memory clinic and two State of California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers. The center primarily treats dementia, the progressive loss of memory and thinking skills.

Conditions that include memory loss:

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, irreversible disease of the brain in which memory and thinking skills are destroyed over time. Symptoms usually appear after age 65, but younger patients have been identified. It’s estimated that more than 5 million Americans older than 65 have Alzheimer’s disease, and rates of occurrence are growing rapidly. It is the most common dementia among older people. For more detailed information about Alzheimer’s disease, click here.

Vascular injuries, such as stroke and chronic vascular disease, affect blood flow to the brain and can cause dementia. Whether or not a stroke or other disease causes dementia (and how severely the symptoms become) depends on the severity and location of the stroke or other injury. For more detailed information about vascular dementia, click here.

Frontotemporal dementias are dementias that occur in areas of the brain just behind the forehead (the frontal lobe) or just behind the ears (temporal). Formerly known as “Pick’s Disease,” these are a group of disorders that can alter memory and behavior, produce speech deficits or movement impairments. They are believed to be the cause of dementia in up to 50 percent of patients under the age of 65. For more detailed information about frontotemporal dementia, click here.

Treatments and Services

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobe diseases are currently incurable, while vascular dementias can be managed by treating the underlying stroke or vascular disorder. The Memory and Aging Center conducts clinical trials and research studies for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease via the USC Alzheimer Disease Research Center.

The diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobe diseases are complex. No blood tests yet exist to test for the disease and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans usually do not show lesions. At Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, the Memory and Aging Center physicians and staff apply research methods in advanced imaging or lumbar punctures to attempt to reach a more conclusive diagnosis.

Treatments of dementias usually consist of drug treatments, including cholinesterase inhibitors that seem to have a limited effect. The center physicians treat the symptoms of dementia as they arise and work with social workers as they counsel the patient and family members.

Patient Information

The USC Alzheimer Disease Research Center (ADRC) conducts clinical trials for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  These clinical trials and research projects represent a crucial step in advancing care and developing potentially memory and life-saving drugs and treatments.

The USC ADRC invites participants who are residents of the greater Los Angeles area and:

  • Adults 55 years of age or older who may or may not be experiencing memory difficulties
  • Individuals of any age with progressive memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease, or other forms of dementia

For more information about ongoing treatment studies, click here.

Resources

Alzheimer Disease Research Center
adrc.usc.edu

Alzheimer’s Association
alz.org

California Alzheimer’s Disease Program
cdph.ca.gov/programs/alzheimers

Brain Health Registry
neuro.keckmedicine.org/brain-health-registry

Our Physicians

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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
view profile

Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
view profile

Practicing Locations

USC Healthcare Center 2
view profile

Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2

Additional Faculty

Kecia Watari Knoel, PhD
Carol McCleary, PhD
Lina D’Orazio, PhD

Additional Clinicians

Kara Barton, LCSW
John Danner, LCSW
Freddi Segal-Gidan, PA, PhD