Concerns about early signs of dementia, adult ADHD, or other cognitive processing changes can be evaluated using neuropsychological testing. Neuropsychological testing involves the comprehensive evaluation of neuro-cognitive and neuro-behavioral functioning to assess the presence and/or the impact of various neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, including
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Dementia, stroke
- Movement disorders
- Mood disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Learning disabilities
- Neurodegenerative disorders
Neuropsychological testing can be useful in a number of ways:
- Identification of cognitive difficulties. The exam can be used to identify weaknesses in specific areas of cognition. It is very sensitive to mild memory and thinking problems that might might not be obvious in other ways.
- Differential diagnosis. Different illnesses result in different patterns of strengths and weakness. Therefore, the exam can also be used to help differentiate among illnesses. This is important since appropriate treatment depends on accurate diagnosis.
- Establishment of baseline. Sometimes the exam is used to establish a “baseline” or document a person’s skills at the onset or before cognitive problems arise. In this way, later changes can be measured very objectively.
- Documentation of change. Following the establishment of a baseline, successive examinations can be utilized to document change over the progression of a disorder, as well as the effects of surgical, medical, and behavioral treatments on the patient’s neurocognitive status.
- Treatment planning. The exam can be used to identify target problems in order to plan for the most effective treatments that use a patient’s cognitive strengths to compensate for weaknesses.