What is a neuropsychological assessment?

Neuropsychology is concerned with relationships between the brain and behavior. Neuropsychologists conduct evaluations to characterize behavioral and cognitive changes resulting from central nervous system disease or injury.

Neuropsychological tests evaluate functioning in a number of areas including: intelligence, executive functions (such as planning, abstraction, conceptualization), attention, memory, language, perception, sensorimotor functions, motivation, mood state and emotion, quality of life, and personality styles. 

Typically, patterns of cognitive strengths and weaknesses emerge and provide meaningful information that can be interpreted by a clinical neuropsychologist for diagnosis and treatment planning.

What can I expect on the day of my exam?

Your appointment will take 3-4 hours. It will be important to get a good night’s rest and pack a few light snacks. There are two parts of your day. The first part involves a clinical interview in which you will be asked about your medical history, mental health history, and any concerns that you have about your thinking abilities.  It is often helpful to have a family member or friend present during the clinical interview to provide additional information about your history. However, your family members or friends will be asked to leave the room during testing.

During the evaluation, you will complete paper-and-pencil measures of thinking skills. You may be asked to do some writing, reading, or drawing, and to answer questions verbally. You also may complete measures that will help Dr. Neal understand how your illness or injury has affected your mood, personality, or coping skills.

Why am I being referred for a neuropsychological exam?

Neuropsychological evaluations are frequently requested for some of the following conditions:

  • Neurological conditions: Dementia, epilepsy, strokes, movement disorders, Parkinson's disease, brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, hydrocephalus, etc.

  • Traumatic brain injury: Head injury from motor vehicle accidents, falls, sport-related concussions

  • Cardiovascular diseases: Coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease

  • Immune and autoimmune disorders: Lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV, connective tissue disorder

  • Pre- and post-surgical conditions: Kidney transplants, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, organ transplant, deep brain stimulator implantation

  • Environmental exposures: Infectious bacteria or viruses, solvents, carbon monoxide, lead, occupational exposures

  • Chronic medical issues: Thyroid and sleep disorders, diabetes mellitus

  • Psychiatric conditions: Depression, anxiety spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, personality disorders

What happens when testing is completed?

A comprehensive written report with your results and personalized recommendations will be sent to your referring provider approximately 2-3 weeks after you complete the evaluation. Verbal feedback to you and/or your referring doctor is also available.

What information will an assessment provide?

Results from your neuropsychological exam can reveal the extent of a deficit and can inform disease course as well as functional potential. Findings guide personalized treatment recommendations including any adjustments that may be necessary to optimize daily functioning in the real world. For instance, an evaluation can address readiness to return to work or other important life activities, such as financial management and driving, after a brain injury or neurologic illness.

Treatment recommendations may also involve suggestions for family members or caregivers of individuals diagnosed with a neurological condition. This can be particularly helpful for individuals diagnosed with neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia. In these cases, recommendations may guide families with future planning.

How do I get scheduled?

A referral from your physician (e.g. neurologist, psychiatrist, internal medicine doctor) is required to undergo a neuropsychological evaluation.

Once a referral is received by our office, you will be contacted to schedule a date and time. Intake forms will be sent for you to review and complete before your assessment.

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