Our experienced neuropsychologists examine cognitive abilities (e.g., memory, speech and language, visuospatial abilities, concentration, motor skills) and integrate the test data with medical, psychological, developmental, medication and other data to help with diagnosis and determine the impact of a disease an injury on an individual's functioning. This information aids in differential diagnosis, assists in treatment and life planning, and can describe the clinical course of a condition and assess response to treatment.
Neuropsychological Testing complements neurological tests. While imaging tests (e.g., CT or MRI) show the structure of the brain, neuropsychological testing reveals the patients' cognitive strengths and weaknesses as they may have been affected by disorders such as dementia, brain injury or neurological disorders.
Neuropsychological assessment is a complex process that involves the integration of many variables that are unique to each patient. These include early life events (medical and psychological), the individual's developmental history, medical issues, medications (and their side effects) and the individual's psychological status. Thus, test results need to be considered in the context of a patient's unique background to arrive at a set of diagnostic conclusions and treatment recommendations. Computerized cognitive testing or brief screening evaluation cannot provide this sort of complex integrative and analytical process.
Dementia is commonly diagnosed using neuropsychological tests. Dementia is not one disease. Testing in combination with a thorough clinical history can help differentiate the types of dementias or identify disorders presenting as dementia.
When it comes to diagnosing concussions or traumatic brain injury some professionals rely on computer tests. While computerized screening tools (e.g., ImPACT concussion battery) might indicate the presence of a cognitive problem, computer 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 established neuropsychological tests, when considered in the context of an persons history and administered by a neuropsychologist, overcomes the limitations of computer tests (e.g., see Slate article on the problems with test such as ImPACT).
Testing is often very helpful for people who are experiencing neurological disorders and diseases such as multiple sclerosis, or have strokes, a brain tumor or other neurological disorders where abilities and function can be affected and need to be assessed and recommendations for care provided based on the exam findings. Neuropsychological testing is also sometimes required as a part of pre-surgical evaluations (e.g., epilepsy surgery).
Unlike other group practices, neuropsychological assessment is the primary assessment service we provide and not a practice add-on.
Psychological testing helps determine mental health diagnosis and in formulating treatment recommendations. When there is a medical disorder, testing identifies factors that can affect coping with an illness. Psychological testing is also used prior to surgical implantation of a spinal cord stimulator to manage chronic pain. We also provide vocational and aptitude testing to help people decide on appropriate job direction. Dr. McDonough provides psychoeducational evaluations for children.