Capsule Description of the Clinical Neuropsychological Assessment
Clinical neuropsychology is . . .
the study of how functional skills (e.g., memory, language, attention, reading, planning, visual-spatial analysis, problem-solving, and so forth) change and impact daily life as a result of brain dysfunction from injury and disease;
- the study of the interrelatedness of mental processes and how injury to one brain system may adversely influence the functioning of other, non-injured brain systems;
- the determination of brain diagnosis based, in part, on results of objective psychological tests sensitive to brain injury or disease, compared with normative performance of non-injured individuals on the same tests;
- the analysis of life-consequences of brain injury or disease and the processes by which people may recover from dysfunction and/or adapt to disabilities caused by permanent dysfunction.
Neuropsychological assessment is . . .
- the administration of objective psychological tests and related procedures that are proven sensitive to the effects of brain injury;
- the selection of examination procedures that are specific for measuring functional changes due to impairment of specific cognitive domains;
- the integration of statistical and observational findings, and history, that may reveal a logically consistent pattern commonly seen with specific brain disorders;
- the process of tying together psychosocial history, personality, medical and physical health history, and mechanisms of brain injury in order to make sense of present mental functioning and clinical presentation;
- the determination of rehabilitation needs based on the measured strengths and weaknesses in functional domains and the lifestyle of the individual.
For further information on Neuropsychological testing and brain injury, please see http://www.brainsource.com/TwentyQ.htm
IMET member, Elizabeth K recently underwent Neuropsychological testing. Her she explains the procedure:
"When patients complain of “brain fog”, inability to think clearly, hyperacusis (sound-sensitivity), insomnia (sleep disorder), fatigue and such symptoms as physicians entitle “vague” complaints, the treating doctors will often deem it important to have the Psychogenesis Picture reflected by a professional. This process would involve an assessment by a clinical neuropsychologist. The objective would be to establish whether the patient was suffering from a psychological / psychiatric disorder or an organic / physiological disorder, thus making the differential diagnosis.
Some physicians, especially those who have been treating a patient for years, will simply accept self-reported cognitive deficit. Others, e.g. Neurologists, who may only be interviewing a patient once or twice, will suggest psychometric testing and a report from a neuropsychologist.
If one’s treating physician readily accepts one’s experience of brain dysfunction, it would not be advisable to expend the necessarily large amounts of energy and financial resources involved in procuring a neuropsychological report. If, however, there is any doubt about the psychological aspect to the condition, it is very worthwhile going to the trouble of commissioning an objective, definitive report.
The testing, in Ireland, would usually involve 4 or 5 hours of work together with the psychologist. The patient / client would be expected to present with medical documentation, if any existed, in order to establish a case history. The psychologist would interview the client with regard to general background and history of the medical condition. Later, or perhaps during a subsequent consultation, the client would be given tests and tasks to perform. Some of this testing would be written, in questionnaire / multiple-choice format. Other tests would be verbal, e.g. memory tests involving words or numbers. Tasks physically involving coloured building blocks, for example, might be used to test for brain-hand co- ordination. The whole experience is not at all unpleasant, except that it can, of course, be rather tiring, intellectually and physically.
Finally, after your consultation(s), the neuropsychologist will produce a report of several pages, typically under the following headings: History; Interview; Assessment; Conclusion.
If you would like to view Elizabeth's report, please see HERE. Please note that most people with ME will not mirror Elizabeth's specific insult to the brain, although resulting symptomology will often be very similar.
Personal details have been removed to protect anonymity.
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