Behavioral changes can occur because of neurological trauma, neurodegenerative or other acquired conditions. Our trained neuropsychologists at Marshall Health specialize in the relationship between brain function and behavior, emotion and cognitive functions for both pediatric and adult patients.
Our neuropsychology specialists are embedded in the care teams within the departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery in order to provide patients with comprehensive neuropsychological/neurocognitive testing that may be helpful in diagnosing deficits related to:
- Brain injury
- Brain tumors
- Dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neurotoxin exposure
- Seizure disorders
- Other chronic conditions
Assessing brain function
A neuropsychological evaluation involves assessment using a series of standardized tests that are sensitive to the effects of brain dysfunction. Neuropsychological assessment shows the ways in which a person can or cannot perform certain functions or tasks that are dependent upon brain activity, especially in the context of daily life.
What tests are used?
Tests are typically conducted by paper/pencil or on the computer. They assess the following areas of cognition, or thinking:
- Attention and memory
- Motor functions
- Problem-solving and other complex abilities
- Sensory perceptual functions
- Speed and language functions
- Visual-spatial functions
An interview and an assessment of emotional functioning are often performed as well.
When should I consider having a neuropsychological evaluation?
Neuropsychological evaluations are conducted for various reasons including: 1) assessing for possible problems with brain functioning, 2) assisting with diagnosis, 3) defining brain-related strengths and weaknesses, 4) guiding treatment for personal, educational, or vocational needs, 5) making relevant recommendations to health care providers and caregivers, and 6) documenting possible changes in cognition over time.
Difficulties that might signal the need for evaluation include:
- Difficulty communicating
- Difficulty reading or writing
- Memory loss
- Problems paying attention or concentrating
Once you’ve complete the evaluation, a neuropsychologist will review your results. He or she will then generate comprehensive report that summarizes the findings and provides recommendations for treatment. With your permission, the report will be sent to the doctor who referred you for testing. A feedback session with the patient and family may also be arranged.