Clinical Neuropsychology

Definition:

A Clinical Neuropsychologist is a psychologist specially trained in the science of brain-behavior relationships.  A Clinical Neuropsychologist specializes in assessment and intervention based on the scientific study of human behavior across the lifespan as it relates to normal and abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. 


 

What to expect: 

A neuropsychological assessment involves the evaluation of cognitive abilities and psychiatric functioning using a battery of standardized assessment measures. These evaluations can be used to help diagnose or rule out conditions as well as to describe the impact of a condition on a person’s functioning and to help make decisions about one's needs. s part of the evaluation, an in-depth clinical interview is conducted, a comprehensive history is taken, and all available and relevant medical, legal, psychiatric, vocational, and educational records are reviewed. Findings are summarized in a detailed report and face-to-face feedback is provided in most cases.

 

Additional information:

 

Individuals with a history of any of the following problems, and many more, may benefit from Neuropsychological evaluation: 

 

  • Head injury
  • Failure to achieve developmental milestones
  • Learning or attention deficits 
  • Exposure to drugs, alcohol, or maternal illness in utero
  • Exposure to chemicals, toxins, or heavy metals
  • Any neurological condition (e.g., MS, Parkinson’s, hydrocephalus, brain tumors, infection, etc.)
  • Seizure disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Strokes
  • Dementia
  • Psychiatric disorders

 

Neuropsychological assessment is useful for measuring many areas of functioning, such as:  

 

  • Intellectual functioning
  • Academic achievement
  • Language processing
  • Visuospatial processing
  • Attention/concentration
  • Verbal learning and memory
  • Visual learning and memory
  • Executive functions
  • Speed of processing
  • Sensory-perceptual functions
  • Motor speed and strength
  • Motivation/symptom validity
  • Personality assessment

 

Common applications of Neuropsychological assessment include:

 

  • Assist with differential diagnosis (e.g., organic and functional pathologies)
  • Assess for deficits associated with specific disorders, such as dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT), HIV-related dementia, multiple sclerosis (MS), and stroke
  • Evaluate for dementia versus pseudodementia
  • Establish a baseline of cognitive functioning (e.g., to help monitor functional effects of a neurodegenerative disorder)
  • Assess neuropsychological functioning to assist in criminal and civil forensic matters (e.g., question of intellectual disability in competence to stand trial evaluation, assess validity of reported cognitive changes since motor vehicle accident)
  • Assist with evaluation of epilepsy versus non-epileptic events
  • Help to determine the presence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) sequelae 
  • Evaluate for symptom validity and help rule out malingering or symptom exaggeration  
  • Make recommendations about, and/or guide rehabilitation programs and monitor patient progress
  • Assist the primary care provider in referring to specialists
  • Help determine patient’s ability to live independently or with supervision 
  • Evaluate competency to manage legal and financial affairs
  • Assess capacity to participate in medical and legal decision making
  • Evaluate ability to return to work and school affairs
  • Helpful as a component of determining candidacy for surgery (e.g., transplantation or bariatric) 
  • Assessment of CNS lesions and/or seizure disorders before and after surgical interventions, such as corpus callosotomy or focal resection 
  • Evaluate the cognitive effects of various medical disorders and associated interventions
  • Assessment of tests for diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypertension, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), and clinical drug trials 
  • Monitoring of the effects of pharmacologic interventions
  • Assessment of the cognitive effects of exposure to neurotoxins
  • Assess memory and cognitive functioning as influenced by electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) 
  • Diagnose learning disabilities, identify learning styles and make recommendations about strategies to improve learning, academic placement, etc.  
  • Assess for high stakes testing accommodations (LSAT, GRE, MCAT, etc.)  

 

*MFNC does not accept insurance. However, if provided by clients, we will complete paperwork so that individuals can seek at least partial reimbursement for out-of-network providers. Whether an individual receives reimbursement for services is contingent on one's insurance carrier and plan.