Neuropsychological evaluation is an assessment of how one’s brain functions, which indirectly yields information about the structural and functional integrity of your brain.
A neuropsychological evaluation usually consists of an interview and testing. During the interview, information that is important for the neuropsychologist to consider will be reviewed. You will be asked about your symptoms, medical history, medications, and other important factors.
The areas addressed in an individual’s evaluation are determined by the referring physician’s questions, the patient’s complaints and symptoms, and observations made during interview and test administration.
The time required depends on the problem being assessed. In general, several hours are needed to assess the many skills involved in processing information. If necessary, evaluation may require 2 or more sessions.
Step 1 History and physical (by nurse navigator)
Step 2 Initial evaluation by neuropsychologist
Step 3 Comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation
Step 4 Feedback session (explanation of results and treatment plan)
A typical neuropsychological evaluation will involve assessment of the following:
If you have been referred, neuropsychological evaluations are requested specifically to help your doctors and other professionals understand how the different areas and systems of the brain are working. Testing is usually recommended when there are symptoms or complaints involving memory or thinking.
This may be signaled by a change in concentration, organization, reasoning, memory, language, perception, coordination, or personality. The change may be due to any of a number of medical, neurological, psychological, or genetic causes. Testing will be helpful in understanding your specific situation.
Bring a list of ALL current medications and doses
Bring a friend or relative to accompany you and assist, if necessary
Bring previous neurodiagnositc evaluation and testing results (MRI CT scans) if applicable
Evaluation is most effective if you make sure to come in rested, motivated, and in a stable mood.
Do not consume alcohol within 24 hours of the tests
Are you over 50 and worried about memory changes? If so, you're not alone. A 2014 Brain Health Study showed that 70 percent of Americans aged 45-79 describe their memory as much worse or somewhat worse versus five years ago. 91 percent of that group believe middle-aged and older adults should have their brain health checked regularly.
"We know that many adults worry about the forgetfulness that comes with aging, and fear it might be something more serious," says Cogniciti’s President Michael Meagher. "In fact, the Brain Health Study showed that dementia/Alzheimer’s ranks as the second most feared disease in America behind cancer."
The company says that while it’s not a diagnostic tool, Cogniciti, the online assessment is like a "temperature check for the mind" that will help a person determine the right time to discuss memory concerns with their doctor. The aim is to reassure the vast majority of adults who are healthy (the “worried well”) and nudge the small percentage of people who scored below normal to get checked by their doctor.
"Getting checked early is the best way to rule out other health problems such as stress and depression, that could be causing cognitive issues," said Dr. Angela Troyer, program director of Neuropsychology and Cognitive Health at Baycrest Health Sciences, and a lead member of the research team that developed the test. "If it turns out you do have a significant problem with your memory, then early diagnosis will help you maintain your cognitive health and independence for as long as possible, and enable you and your family to plan for the care and support you'll need in the future."
Click Here to Take Test
If you are in the 50 to 79-age bracket, worried about your memory changes and whether you need to see a doctor, there is a free online brain health test developed by the memory experts at Baycrest Health Sciences that will help you with that decision.
The test – co-developed by the brain health solutions company Cogniciti Inc. (owned by Baycrest and partner MaRS Discovery District) – takes about 20 minutes to complete and is available to the public at www.cogniciti.com.
The game-like tests tap into functions such as memory and attention, which are affected by aging and brain disease. You can take the test on a desktop or laptop computer at home (with internet access), and receive an overall score of your cognitive health immediately after you finish.