Our experienced neuropsychologists work full-time doing neuropsychological assessments. This service is not a part-time practice add-on. We examine cognitive abilities (e.g., memory, speech and language, visuospatial abilities, concentration, motor skills, processing efficiency) and integrate the test data with medical, psychological, developmental, and medication information to help with differential diagnosis and assist in treatment, life planning and to assess the clinical course of a condition or response to treatment.
Neuropsychological testing complements neurological exams and tests. While brain imaging (e.g., CT or MRI) shows its structure neuropsychological testing reveals the persons cognitive functioning as it may have been affected by disorders such as dementia, brain injury or neurological disorders.
This type of assessment is a complex process that involves the integration of many variables that are unique to each patient. These include early life events (physical and psychological), the individual's developmental history, medical conditions, medications (and their side effects) and the individual's mental health status. Thus, cognitive test results are considered in the context of a patient's unique background to arrive at diagnostic conclusions and treatment recommendations. Brief screening exams cannot provide this sort of complex integrative and analytical process.
Neuropsychological assessment is helpful in the following conditions:
Dementia is not one disease. Neuropsychological testing in combination with a thorough clinical history can help differentiate types of dementia (e.g., Alzheimer's, Frontal-temporal, Lewy Body, vascular dementia) or can aid in identifying reversible disorders or psychological conditions presenting as dementia.
Neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, a stroke, brain tumor or other neurological disorders can present with different patterns of difficulties in different people, thus, recommendations and care will vary based on the individual's specific cognitive issues.
CONCUSSIONS AND TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES
Concussions usually resolve quickly, so prolonged concussion symptoms may involve additional factors that need to be evaluated. A traumatic brain injury can result in different cognitive and neurobehavioral changes in different people that need to be carefully evaluated to assess the potential impact on everyday functioning, work and quality of life.
PRE-SURGICAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMS
Pre-surgical evaluations (e.g., epilepsy or Parkinson's disease surgery, spinal cord stimulators) use neuropsychological testing to inform medical decisions about the patient's specific disease manifestations and most appropriate management for the individual.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How is neuropsychological testing different from a computerized test that I took?
Computer tests (e.g., ImPACT concussion battery) might indicate the presence of a cognitive problem, but computerized tests assess functioning without an adequate context, and can be difficult for the elderly or people who are uncomfortable with computers to manage. A comprehensive and sensitive set of neuropsychological tests that are administered by a neuropsychologist, and when considered in the context of a patient's history, overcomes the limitations of such tests (e.g., see Slate article on the problems with ImPACT).
Do you do medico-legal evaluations to assist in lawsuits?
No we do not.