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Memory and Attention Center


The Memory and Attention Center at New York Methodist Hospital offers a full continuum of care for memory and attention disorders, from assessment and diagnosis to a personalized plan of treatment. Memory and attention disorders can affect people of all ages. The causes range from reversible problems such as anemia and thyroid issues to more complex issues such as dementia. Early diagnosis and treatment has been shown to greatly improve quality of life and may significantly slow down the advancement of these disorders.


Memory is a complex cognitive ability that controls our capacity to recall the long-term past and the short-term details of present day life. It includes memory for facts and memory of experiences. Memory issues may manifest in numerous ways.
Some common memory compaints include:

  • My problem is with new stuff. My old memory for things that happened 20 years ago is no problem. I can't remember what happened yesterday.
  • My husband says I keep asking him the same questions, over and over again.
  • My wife says I don't listen to anything she tells me. She says it seems to just go in one ear and out the other.
  • There's a word I want to say and I just can't think of it.
  • I go to the store and forget what I was supposed to get. I walk into a room and forget why I went in there.
  • I am having trouble with reading. When I read a page, the words don't stick.

These complaints do not necessarily indicate a memory disorder, but a face-to-face evaluation by a licensed health professional is suggested if your functioning is affected.

Treatment for Memory Disorders

The treatment for a memory disorder depends on its origin or cause. Often, causes are due to reversible medical conditions such as anemia or thyroid problems. If the cause is depression or anxiety, then medication and/or therapy can help tremendously. Strokes and other acquired brain injury can benefit from cognitive rehabilitation.

However, there are instances in which memory disorders stem from degenerative dementia. Degenerative dementias do not have a cure; but there are medications that can alter their progression and relieve some of the associated symptoms. For example, cholinesterase inhibitors may enhance memory abilities. Some newer medications also appear to alter the functional and cognitive deficits in Alzheimers disease. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be helpful in managing certain behavioral symptoms.


The ability to focus, sustain and alternate attention to information can influence memory. An individual who is unable to attend to information that is provided will be unable to remember. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can also affect memory.

ADHD is a condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. It is one of the most well-recognized childhood developmental problems but it is not generally known is that these symptoms continue into adulthood for about 60 percent of children with ADHD. That translates into four percent of the adult population in the United States. However, few adults are diagnosed or treated for adult ADHD.

Adults with ADHD may have difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks or completing work within time limits. If these difficulties are not managed appropriately, they can cause associated behavioral, emotional, social, vocational and academic problems.

Treatment of ADHD

The same drug treatments proven to be effective in children with ADHD appear to benefit adults with the condition. Studies show that approximately two thirds of adults with ADHD who are given these medications show significant improvement in ADHD symptoms. Adult ADHD may also be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation training and stress management to reduce anxiety and stress, and family education and therapy.

Although most people don't outgrow ADHD, they do learn to adapt. If the difficulties associated with the disorder are managed appropriately, adults with ADHD can learn to develop personal strengths and become productive and successful.

Patients may be referred by their primary care physicians or they may refer themselves for diagnosis and/or treatment.

To make an appointment, call 718.246.8590.

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