Alzheimer's Disease

More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer's disease, most of them 65 years or older. While Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, it is not a normal part of aging. It is a disease that worsens progressively over time.

Alzheimer's disease is difficult to diagnose. Our experts are focused on the condition and help patients and their families manage symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and maximize quality of life.

Schedule an appointment with an Alzheimer's specialist online or call 913-588-1227.

About Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease causes nerve cells in the brain to die, inhibiting the ability to communicate or perform tasks and skills. The death of the nerve cells causes individuals to become forgetful, experience personality changes and have difficulty completing daily tasks.

There are no certain indicators that a person will develop Alzheimer's disease. Scientists believe that age, family history and genetics each play a role.

  • The more common cognitive changes that result from Alzheimer's disease include:

    • Memory loss, especially short-term memory
    • Confusion with time or place
    • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
    • Restlessness
    • Personality or mood changes
    • Impaired communication and judgment
    • Inability to follow directions
    • Language deterioration
    • Reduced visual and spatial awareness
    • Emotional apathy
  • The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are strikingly similar to those of other types of dementia. There is not a single, comprehensive test for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease, but by eliminating the presence of other diseases, doctors can achieve a diagnosis in about 90% of cases.

    Physicians will run a complete battery of tests and evaluations to determine how to best address dementia. Once other possible diagnoses are ruled out, doctors can use additional diagnostic tools, including:

    • Complete review of medical history
    • Full neurological examination
    • Blood tests
    • Computed tomography scan
    • Magnetic resonance imaging

    Other tests may include a spinal tap, electroencephalogram, which records the brain's continuous activity, and genetic testing.

We are leading the prevention field in Alzheimer's disease. Our ability to use new technology, such as brain scans that can detect Alzheimer's-related changes before the onset of memory loss, is moving the field of prevention research forward rapidly. – Jeffrey Burns, MD

Co-director, Alzheimer's Disease Center

Why choose us

  • We have the only National Institute on Aging-designated Alzheimer's Disease Center in the region. The physicians and nurses here have dedicated their careers to the care of patients with Alzheimer's disease and the research needed to enable prevention. We offer more exercise and drug trials than any other hospital in our area.
  • We offer the region's only program led by fellowship-trained physicians. Our neurologists have completed additional training specific to Alzheimer's disease treatment.
  • Our multidisciplinary team includes physicians, nurse practitioners, an LPN and a social worker. Each is deeply invested in patient care and research.
  • Our doctors participate in clinical trials and research that one day could result in a cure for Alzheimer's disease. One example is the Alzheimer's Association's Imaging Dementia – Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS) study, which assesses whether, in diagnostically uncertain cases, amyloid PET helps clinicians diagnose the cause of cognitive impairment to determine the most effective treatments.
  • For patients who require advanced testing, we are the only hospital in the region to administer an Amyvid™ scan, which includes a dye injection that highlights the plaque in the brain that causes Alzheimer's disease.

What to expect

Scientists and clinical leaders know much more about Alzheimer's disease today than they did just 10 years ago. Statistics have shown that early diagnosis gives patients a better chance to benefit from treatment and possible participation in clinical trials. It also provides families more time to develop relationships with doctors and caregivers.

Alzheimer's disease treatment at the health system provides the opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary care team dedicated to supporting your complete needs with respect to this condition.

Our team works with you to apply drug and non-drug therapies to lessen symptoms, such as sleep changes, personality or mood changes and memory loss.

Doctors and nurses collaborating

Leading research and clinical trials

We collaborate closely with the University of Kansas Medical Center to realize the power of academic medicine. Here at the health system, we deliver advanced patient care. The staff at the medical center conducts industry-leading research and clinical trials.
Our Research

Our experts

Learn more about our leaders in Alzheimer's disease treatment and research.