A Neurologist's Practical Approach to Cognitive Impairment

Philip W. Tipton, Gregory S. Day, Neill Graff-Radford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The global prevalence of dementia is expected to triple by the year 2050. This impending health care crisis has led to new heights of public awareness and general concern regarding cognitive impairment. Subsequently, clinicians are seeing more and more people presenting with cognitive concerns. It is important that clinicians meet these concerns with a strategy promoting accurate diagnoses. We have diagramed and described a practical approach to cognitive impairment. Through an algorithmic approach, we determine the presence and severity of cognitive impairment, systematically evaluate domains of function, and use this information to determine the next steps in evaluation. We also discuss how to proceed when cognitive impairment is associated with motor abnormalities or rapid progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-698
Number of pages13
JournalSeminars in Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • clinical assessment
  • cognitive impairment
  • dementia
  • rapidly progressive dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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