When the brain sustains injuries changes occur. You may have trouble understanding the world around you. Learning new things and remembering may become more difficult.
Acquired brain injuries may occur after a catastrophic event such as a major stroke or accident. Yet silent factors may also damage brain function. Lack of oxygen during delivery, multiple sclerosis, mini strokes and exposure to undetected chemicals are just some causes of brain injury. In these scenarios there’s little to make you suspect brain damage has occurred.
Neuropsychological assessments measure the impact neurological function has upon you or a loved one’s ability to function in daily life. Our practice focuses upon five core assessment areas.
Assessments in these areas can help you and your attending physician choose the best course of treatment for your or your loved one’s needs.
Your doctor may prescribe testing for a number of conditions that damage brain function. This is so the extent and location of damage can be identified. Your physician may also order neuropsychological assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of your rehabilitation protocol.
The typical neuropsychological evaluation has two parts—an interview and then a series of tests. For example, one test for language and speech asks you to name pictures as they are shown to you. Another asks you to name as many words that start with a certain letter or fall within a certain category.
It can take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours to complete the evaluation. A client who experiences fatigue, confusion or slow motor skills takes longer to test.
We find that long testing is too strenuous, so we schedule two or three shorter sessions that fit you or your loved one’s stamina. We have found that results are more accurate when you are rested and refreshed.
Neuropsychological tests are standardized tests. Each test is given in a proscribed manner so test scores can be compared to the standard scores obtained from healthy individuals of a similar age, educational background, gender and even ethnic group.
More than test scores are considered. While these are important, the testing process and interview also give your neuropsychologist insights into how your brain is functioning.
In most cases neuropsychological tests provide extremely useful insights into your condition, though accuracy of those insights is related to your ability to cooperate with the clinical neuropsychologist during testing. It’s very important for you to do your best during the assessment. If you are experiencing excessive pain, or if you are on medications or drugs which alter brain function, your test results may be inconclusive.
We are happy to answer additional questions. Please contact Dr. Nicolle Ionascu today at 925-588-3592.