Neuropsychological Services for Adults and Older Adults
The core of neuropsychological testing is to measure areas such as intellectual ability, executive functioning (which includes attention, planning, organization, initiation, and self-monitoring), visual and auditory perception, language, memory, motor skills, social perception, and emotional functioning. Mount Sinai provides special care to adults with memory disorders and a range of diagnoses of neurodegenerative diseases. Neurodegenerative diseases may include dementia or psychiatric conditions such as depression and cognitive changes following an illness or surgery.
To determine how the brain and nervous system functioning affect a patient, we conduct an extensive evaluation using neuropsychological testing. As a proactive or preventive measure, we also offer baseline cognitive assessments for those have no symptoms, but want to track their cognitive function yearly for early signs of cognitive disease.
In order to make the correct diagnosis and develop the most effective therapies, treatment starts with a thorough assessment. Our evaluations help us personalize the strategies and services to each patient’s individual needs. A neuropsychological evaluation differs from other psychological evaluations in that it gauges the functioning of the patient’s central nervous system to help us discover the specific cognitive processes that may be impaired. We will then provide a detailed report for the patient and referring physicians. This report contains information about the patient’s functioning as well as recommendations related to treatments, referrals, and other follow-up care.
The Evaluation and Testing Process
A neuropsychological evaluation includes an interview with the neuropsychologist and a comprehensive battery of standardized written tests. Our interview and testing typically takes three to four hours and includes measures of intellectual functioning as well as assessment of mood, behavior, and stress levels. Neuropsychological testing measures an adult patient’s strengths and weaknesses in the following areas:
- Executive functioning
- Mood and personality
- Processing speed
- Visual spatial functioning
The testing we offer includes specialized clinical assessments of the following issues:
- Baseline cognitive functioning
- Cognitive disorder in psychiatric conditions, such as depression
- Cognitive changes following a medical illness (e.g., cardiac issues, stroke, NPH) or surgery
- Cognitive changes due to substance abuse
- Competency and capacity
- Dementia assessments for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia
- HIV-associated dementia
- Language disturbance
- Memory evaluations related to mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or normal aging
- Traumatic brain injury
Results and Recommendations
The testing results in a thorough cognitive profile of the patient. We produce a written report to be shared with the referring physician. It includes the cognitive profile, detailed recommendations, objective information about the patient’s functioning, and specific issues that may be helped with therapeutic intervention.
Once we have the results, we may refer the patient to specialists for follow-up care. Our recommendations might include the following:
- Consultation with a psychopharmacologist to treat depression or other psychiatric disorders with medication
- Evaluation of the patient’s ability to drive due to cognitive and spatial difficulties
- Meeting with a social worker to determine the appropriate level of home care
- Information about clinical research trials related to memory, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease conducted at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.