About The Clinic

The Eastern Cognitive Disorders Clinic (ECDC) offers a cognitive diagnostic service and is based at Box Hill Hospital, in the Eastern Health region of Melbourne, Victoria.

Referrals are accepted from medical practitioners for patients who have neurological illnesses with cognitive symptoms, and cognitive syndromes which may pose diagnostic difficulties. Patients are seen from throughout Victoria and interstate.

ECDC offers a multidisciplinary specialist service. Patients with suspected cognitive disorders may be diagnosed, and along with their family/carers, receive education regarding their condition and prognosis. Patients and carers may also be linked in to available support services. We also run a monthly group for people who are caring for someone with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).

ECDC has a special interest in progressive brain disorders (dementias) which occur in younger people. Young onset dementias are usually defined as people presenting before the age of 65. All staff members have extensive clinical experience and are highly skilled in the recognition and management of unusual cognitive syndromes. Whilst the ECDC provides diagnostic services for all types of dementia, it has established particular expertise in the diagnosis and management of FTD.


A/Prof Amy Brodtmann – Behavioural Neurologist, MBBS, FRACP, PhD

Dr Amy BrodtmannA/Prof Amy Brodtmann is a cognitive neurologist, with a research background in stroke, neuroimaging and dementia. She received her medical degree from the University of Melbourne before completing specialty training in neurology at Austin Health and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Her PhD was completed in 2004 in functional magnetic resonance imaging, stroke and normal aging. She travelled to Chicago to do post-doctoral work at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Centre, a recognized centre of excellence in frontotemporal dementia.

Upon her return to Australia and the Florey Neuroscience Institutes (FNI) as a NHMRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, she continued her research interests in imaging, stroke and dementia. She established the ECDC in 2008, in response to a Melbourne need for a specialist FTD clinic. She is an Associate Editor for the American Academy of Neurology's primary journal Neurology. She also became the Co-Head of the Behavioural Neuroscience division of FNI in 2009, and continues to be active in research in vascular dementia and FTD, as well as advocacy for service provision and carer support in FTD.

A/Prof David Darby – Neurologist, MB, BS, PhD, FRACP

David DarbyProf Darby graduated from Medicine at the University of Melbourne in 1981, completing a PhD in neurology and neuropsychology in 1990, and his neurology training in 1991. He served as an instructor in Behavioral Neurology at Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School from 1992 to 1995.

He was Chairman of the Memory Disorders Service at the Repatriation Campus of the Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre from 1997 to 2000, and consultant to the Eastern Cognitive Disorders Clinic, and regional Victoria.

Prof Darby has published over 95 research papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and has co-authored a neuropsychological textbook with Prof Kevin Walsh. He is a consultant for CogState Ltd , which he helped found in 1999, to develop computerized cognitive testing instruments for early detection of dementia in the earliest stages, and is also Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. Awarded Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine 2011 for this work. He is a clinical investigator for the Australian Imaging Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) study. His current research interests are focused on wide-scale community screening for prodromal dementia, both Alzheimer’s disease and fronto-temporal dementia, cognitive evaulation of concussion in sport and multiple sclerosis, and is Principal Investigator for the “TREAD Study” in Melbourne (http://tread.florey.edu.au).

Melissa Kettle – Cognitive Nurse Consultant

Melissa KettleMelissa Kettle is the Cognition Nurse Consultant for the Eastern Cognitive Disorders Clinic. In this role she provides assessments, advice and coordinates support service referrals for clients with dementia and their family carers. She also co- facilitates the clinic’s frontotemporal dementia carer support group meetings.

Melissa is also the Manager of the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service in Victoria (DBMAS). DBMAS is part of the Commonwealth Dementia Care Initiative, providing a 24 hour free advisory services for carers of people with moderate to severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. Therefore, Melissa can provide education and counseling to patients and carers attending the clinic regarding these symptoms.

Melissa is a registered nurse with extensive experience in aged care assessment within both the public and private sector. Before joining the DBMAS VIC team in April 2009, she had established a Cognitive Hospital Admission Risk Program (HARP) at Box Hill Hospital, providing inpatient and post acute follow up for patients with undiagnosed cognitive impairment, dementia and delirium.

Dr Adam Vogel – Speech Pathologist MSc PhD

Adam VogelAdam leads the Centre for Neuroscience of Speech at The University of Melbourne where his team work towards improving speech, language and swallowing function in people with progressive and acquired neurological conditions.

He is a recipient of an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship, a senior lectureship in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology at The University of Melbourne and a Humboldt Fellowship based at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Tübingen Germany. He holds clinical degrees in psychology and speech pathology from the University of Queensland and a PhD in behavioural neuroscience from The University of Melbourne. He is an honorary speech therapist at Great Ormond Street Hospital London, where he undertook his early clinical training and continues to work as consultant speech pathologist for the Friedreich Ataxia Clinic in Melbourne. His group have strategic clinical research alliances with the Eastern Cognitive Disorders Clinic, the Calvary Health Service Bethlehem, the Neuropsychiatry Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University Hospital Tübingen, Germany.

Matthew Poole – Speech Pathologist BSc

Matthew PooleMatthew is a speech pathologist providing specialist assessment services to the Eastern Cognitive Disorders Clinic.

He is a speech pathologist with clinical and research experience in progressive neurological communication disorders. He is a PhD candidate within the Centre for Neuroscience of Speech, and an Associate Lecturer in the Master of Speech Pathology course at the University of Melbourne. Matthew works clinically at the Eastern Cognitive Disorders Clinic. His research interests involve the assessment and management of communication impairment in primary progressive aphasia and younger onset dementia.

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