Neuropsychological Exam

What is a neuropsychological exam? 

Neuropsychological exam is a set of standardized tests that are usually used by medical professionals to evaluate the psychological and cognitive state of patients, including attention, memory and more. It lasts about 3 to 6 hours and is performed on paper with a pen. 

 

What aspects are assessed in the exam? 

  • General intellect (cognition)

  • Memory

  • Motor and sensory 

  • Perception (visual and spatial)

  • Comprehension of language and speech

  • Attention and concentration

  • Problem solving

  • Personality 

  • Mood 

 

Why are neuropsychological exams necessary? 

  • It helps medical professionals to locate causes of abnormalities and diagnose diseases. It further helps them develop treatment.

  • Neuropsychological exams can establish a baseline of treatment. By comparing the results of exams and re-examinations, health care providers can understand whether the condition of patients improves or not. 

 

When do people need neuropsychological exams?

  • After traumatic brain injury, strokes, epilepsy and brain tumours 

  • Having trouble memorizing

  • Confusion

  • Short attention span and hard to concentrate 

  • Language and visual-spatial difficulties 

  • Change in mood and personalities 

  • Having difficulty recognizing things and familiar faces 

  • Delusion and hallucinations 

  • Aging (for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson diseases)

 

How to prepare for the exam?

  • Sleep well and have a good breakfast 

  • Avoid drinking 24 hours before the exam

  • Provide medical professionals with complete medical history and show them all the medication you take (check with doctors if you should take them before the exam)

  • Bring past neuropsychological, neuroimaging (CT scans, MRI scans…) and psychological test records 

  • Take glasses, contact lenses and hearing aids if you use them

 

What happens after the exam?

Following the exam, a detailed report will be provided. If the exam shows any abnormalities, health care providers will require further tests such as CT scans and MRI scans. They could make diagnosis and develop treatment based on those tests. 

 

Reference 

Neuropsychological Evaluation FAQ. (2021, February 01). Retrieved from https://www.med.unc.edu/neurology/divisions/movement-disorders/npsycheval/

Neuropsychological Testing & Assessment. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/4893-neuropsychological-testing--assessment

Neuropsychological Tests: Purpose, Procedure, and Results. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/brain/neuropsychological-test

What Is a Neuropsychological Evaluation? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://childadolescentpsych.cumc.columbia.edu/articles/what-neuropsychological-evaluation

Resources by Cassie Wang

Voices of Brain Injury

  • Instagram @voices_of_braininjury

Instagram @voices_of_braininjury

Bridging the gap between public and brain injury community through shared narratives.