What is Neuropsychology ?
Neuropsychology is the study of brain-behavior relationships. A neuropsychological assessment is conducted to determine an individual’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. An evaluation is typically requested when a patient, their family, or their medical provider is worried about that individual’s cognitive or daily functioning. Multiple cognitive domains are assessed during the evaluation, including attention, language, multi-tasking, visuospatial skills, and memory, which is the most common complaint. Testing can also be used to establish a “baseline” to document your skills before there is any problem.
What is the Neuropsychology test like?
An evaluation is scheduled for 3-4 hours, but this can be shorter or longer depending on the referral question. You will first meet with a neuropsychologist for a clinical interview to review your history and symptoms. It is also typically necessary to collect collateral information from a spouse, family member, or caregiver. The testing will begin shortly after the interview with a trained psychometrist. This is a non-invasive procedure, meaning nothing painful is involved. Instead, you will be asked to answer questions and perform several pencil and paper tasks. While the testing is scheduled for several hours, this does not mean you will be asked to complete one long test. Rather, you will be completing a series of shorter tests, which allows for breaks in between the tests as needed.
What conditions are assessed?
Neuropsychological evaluations help assess and offer treatment recommendations for a wide array of conditions. These diagnoses include, but are not limited to: Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, multiple sclerosis, and primary or comorbid psychiatric conditions.
How do I prepare for the test?
Since the evaluation is very interactive, it is suggested that you do your best to get a good night’s sleep and meal prior to the appointment. You are also welcome to bring snacks or beverages to the assessment. Make sure to bring your eyeglasses and/or hearing aids as you will be asked to read and listen to material. We also ask that you avoid using substances such as marijuana and alcohol on the day of the appointment as we are interested in testing you under the best possible conditions.
Meet the Ochsner Neuropsychology Team
- Dr. Brian Mizuki received pre and post-doctoral specialty training in clinical neuropsychology. He trained at the University of Virginia prior to joining Ochsner’s department of neurology in 2014.
- Dr. Robert John Sawyer is a lifespan neuropsychologist trained to evaluate children, adoelscents, adults, and geriatrics.
- Kristina Brown, BS is the lead psychometrist and office coordinator.