Cognitive Disorders

Center for Memory and Cognitive Disorders

The Center for Memory and Cognitive Disorders at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center is a multidisciplinary center devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of acquired disorders of memory, language, reasoning, awareness, and behavior in adults. Specialists from multiple departments including neurology, neuropsychology, psychiatry, social work, and physical, speech and occupational therapy work together to provide individualized and comprehensive care.


When changes develop in the ability to think, remember, speak, or perform various complex tasks sufficient to interfere with daily life, that is referred to as dementia. Many different disorders can cause dementia and it is important to determine the underlying cause.

Sometimes the cause is reversible, such as when related to medication side effects, vitamin deficiencies or sleep disorders. We can help identify and treat these conditions.

Other times, the cause is a progressive disease of the brain. There are many different types, each with its own symptoms and course. We can diagnose these disorders using the latest technology and provide individualized therapy options that include medications, rehabilitation therapy, and supportive care services to maximize quality of life for both the patients and their caregivers.

Diagnosing Cognitive Disorders

Cognitive disorders can vary dramatically in their initial presenting symptoms and physical manifestations. At our center, patients and caregivers meet with experienced neurologists and other specialists to establish a diagnosis. The diagnosis of dementia, requires comprehensive interviews with patient and caregiver, neurological and mental status examinations, neuropsychological tests and, depending on the findings, additional studies to help narrow down the possible causes. These studies may include brain imaging with CT, MRI or a PET scan, blood tests, brainwave assessment with EEG, and spinal fluid or other tissue sample analysis.

Types of Cognitive Disorders
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Corticobasal Degeneration
  • Delirium
  • Early Onset Dementia
  • Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration
  • Korsakoff Syndrome
  • Lewy Body Dementia
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Mixed Dementia
  • Primary Progressive Aphasia
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
  • Pseudodementia
  • Rapidly Progressive Dementia
  • Vascular Dementia
Treating Cognitive Disorders

The goal of treatment is to maximize the quality of life for the patient. We focus on what our patients and their families tell us is important to them. We utilize a variety of medications to target specific symptoms such as memory changes, sleep disturbance, depression or agitation. Patients may choose to participate in rehabilitation therapy with speech, physical, and occupational therapists who are specially trained in the management of these conditions.

Our social work team can guide patients and their caregivers as they begin to think about next steps, including helping establish a power of attorney and health care proxy, and how to begin thinking about financial planning and implications.

We provide guidance and support for all concerns that may emerge, including personal safety, medical equipment, home services, and driving safety.

Patients and their caregivers will work with their own multidisciplinary team at our center, which will include a neurologist, an advanced practice provider, social worker, rehabilitation therapists, and many other specialists. Patients are seen regularly and as new concerns emerge.

We are here for when patients and their caregivers need help; whatever the issue, we can either help you directly or connect you to the services you need.

Teaching & Research

The Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry Fellowship Program, jointly run by the departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, is committed to training the next generation of clinical and academic experts in the diagnosis and management of brain disorders.

Our Cognitive Specialists

Our team of cognitive specialists work together to provide comprehensive care, advance research on cognitive disorders and educate the next generation of medical professionals.




Laura T. Safar, MD
Laura T. Safar, MD Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine

Social Work

Annmarie Brady, LICSW

Speech Pathology

Courtney B. Ferris, MS, CCC-SLP

Kerry C. Golcher MS, CCC-SLP