A high-powered 64-year-old attorney came to my office because he felt his memory was failing. He forgot clients’ names in mid-conversation and was losing track of important details at work. Although he seemed completely fine on my initial neurological examination, he underwent a several hours-long neurocognitive evaluation, the best way to evaluate cognition in high functioning people.
In this test, we took his brain on a demanding, cognitive test drive to assess his verbal, visual, and working memory, his language, his abstract skills, his processing speed, and many other aspects of his intellect. We discovered that although he was smarter than most people his age, scoring at the 98th percentile, he performed poorly on some tests of auditory memory, confirming his own suspicions. Because he was still functioning extremely well, I diagnosed him as having cognitive impairment — without specifying the cause — and put him on medications to help his memory. Over three years of annual testing however, he continued to decline on specific memory tests.