Neuropsychological Testing and Brain Mapping
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What is Neuropsychological Testing?
Table of Contents
Neuropsychological testing and brain mapping have emerged as valuable tools for the diagnosis of neurological disorders. They are also useful in assessing current mental health status. Using them correctly not only improves diagnosis but can also improve treatment outcomes.
The test scores help determine if the patient has any issues in the brain that may affect mental functions. A neuropsychological test is used to measure cognitive problems after a stroke. Examples of mental functions include the ability to:
Neuropsychological testing includes standardized tools. This means that the tools are used and scored similarly by all test-takers. Thus, the scores are independent of where a person takes the test or who the examiner is. Testing often uses a set of performance-based questions, also known as a neuropsychological test battery. Using a battery helps provide more detailed information about an individual’s mental function.
“Neuropsychological testing is 90% accurate in differentiating Alzheimer’s dementia from nondementia.”1
What Tests are Used in Neuropsychological Testing?
Verbal Communication Test
Specific Tests Used in Neuropsychological Testing
- Wechsler Scales
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R)
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III (WAIS-III)
- Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-IV (WISC-IV)
- Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale-IV
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)
- Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Test
- Boston Naming Test
- Multilingual Aphasia Examination
- Cancellation Tasks (Letter and symbol)
- Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC)
- Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS)
- WMS-III Verbal Memory Index
Speed of Processing
- Simple and Choice Reaction Time
- Symbol Digit Modalities Test - Written and oral
How Long Does Neuropsychological Testing Take?
Who Completes Neuropsychological Testing?
A neuropsychologist completes neuropsychological testing. They understand how the structures and functions of the brain affect behavior and thinking.
For What Conditions is Neuropsychological Testing Used?
Aid Diagnosis of Neurological or Mental Disorders
Neurological disorders, such as dementia, cause cognitive impairment. Mental illness, such as depression, can also cause similar issues. Results from neurological testing help determine the exact cause of the problem. To confirm a diagnosis, the doctor will also use information from other tests. These can include brain scans and blood tests.
Differentiate Dementia from Pseudodementia
Dementia causes problems with memory, thinking, behavior, and emotions. The issues are severe enough to affect essential daily activities. It has no cure, and treatment cannot reverse the symptoms. Pseudodementia causes similar symptoms, usually associated with depression. Unlike dementia, pseudodementia is typically reversible.
Differentiate Epilepsy from Nonepileptic Seizures
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes abnormal brain activities. Symptoms include seizures and fainting. Pseudo-seizures produce similar symptoms. However, they are usually caused by an underlying mental illness, such as anxiety or stress.
Determine the Severity of a Stroke or a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Stroke and TBI cause cognitive impairment of varying severity. Neuropsychological testing helps determine the severity of the condition. Testing also guides the rehabilitation program.
Assist in the Diagnosis of Dyslexia, Autism, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Neuropsychological testing for a child checks processing speed and attention span. Information from these tests is used to diagnose learning disabilities, autism, or ADHD.
Moreover, neuropsychological tests provide useful information for determining if a person:
- Can live independently or needs assistance
- Is improving with treatments for their neuropsychological disorders
- Has been exposed to toxins that affect the brain
- Is eligible for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ECT uses small electric currents to stimulate the brain. Some people with severe depression may need ECT.
When is Neuropsychological Testing Necessary?
How Does Neuropsychological Testing Help Doctors?
- The doctor suspects their patient has a brain disorder, but brain scans show no abnormalities. This is common among people who have a mild head injury or Alzheimer’s.
- The brain disorder seems unrelated to the symptoms a person has.
Is Neuropsychological Testing Covered by Insurance?
- 96132 for neuropsychological testing by a psychologist
- +96133 for neuropsychological testing evaluation services
- 96136 and +96137 for test administration and scoring
How to Prepare for Neuropsychological Testing
What Does a Neuropsychological Test Report Look Like?
Identifying Information and Referral
This section contains personal information, such as the name, age, date of birth, and ethnicity. Referral questions are clearly mentioned.
his section includes the causes of the referral. The complaints may be obtained from the person or his/her friends or family members. A common complaint can be problems with memory and thinking.
History of Present Illness
This section contains detailed information about one or more chief complaints. Examples include:
- When did the illness start?
- Have there been any gradual or abrupt changes in the symptoms?
- Have you received treatment for your problem? If yes, what medications did you take?
Other Medical/Psychiatric History
This section contains information about illnesses other than the chief complaints. Examples include a history of diabetes or depression.
This section includes information about significant medical and psychiatric disorders in parents or siblings. One should also note a history of addiction in immediate family members.
This section includes information about the level of education and employment status. If a person has served in the military, they should mention the type of discharge.
Mental Status Exam/Behavioral Observations
This section includes information about a person’s:
- Level of alertness
- Speech quality
Table of Test Results
The table has different columns for:
- Names of tests taken
- Scores obtained
- Score descriptors, such as average, superior, or borderline
Summary of Results
The summary consists of brief information about the patient, his/her test scores, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses.
Diagnostic Impressions and Recommendations
This section contains diagnostic codes and recommendations based on the diagnosis.
What is Brain Mapping?
Neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, affect brain structures and how they work. Likewise, depression can shrink the brain. Structural changes have also been observed in people with long-term anxiety and schizophrenia.
There are two broad types of brain mapping. They are:
Who Completes Brain Mapping?
How Does Brain Mapping Work?
What Tests are Used in Brain Mapping?
How Does Brain Mapping Work?
Electrical Activity in the Brain
High-definition fiber tracking (HDFT): HDFT creates three-dimensional images that show how the brain’s fibers are connected.
What is Brain Mapping Used For?
How Does Brain Mapping Help Doctors?
What Should a Person Expect on the Day of the Brain Mapping Test?
What Does a Brain Mapping Report Look Like?
- Different brainwaves, such as alpha, beta, theta, delta, and gamma. Many psychiatric and neurological disorders affect brainwaves. These include depression, ADHD, anxiety, autism, addiction, and schizophrenia.
- A person’s cognition, emotions, memory processing, and executive functions. The emotional analysis shows if they are prone to anxiety or obsessive thoughts. Executive analysis reveals their motivation and problem-solving skills.