There are several reasons why people are referred for a neuropsychological evaluation. Your medical provider may be concerned about your memory or other thinking abilities and wish to understand them better. You may have experienced changes in brain function associated with an injury or illness. Neuropsychological test results complement information about the structural integrity of the brain obtained from other neurological assessments such as a CT or MRI scan. The results of the neuropsychological assessment can help your medical providers work with you to provide the best care for your condition.
Results from the evaluation can facilitate patient management by:
- Assessing presence and nature of cognitive impairment
- Providing differential diagnosis
- Determining a baseline that allows for comparison of cognitive functioning over time
- Explaining the functional impact of brain dysfunction on everyday life
- Recommending appropriate treatment
Conditions We Assess
Referrals to the clinical neuropsychology service come from clinics within National Jewish Health, clinics at the University of Colorado Hospital, and medical providers in the community. Clinical neuropsychological evaluations are frequently requested for the following conditions:
Neurological disorders: Dementia, epilepsy, strokes, movement disorder, Parkinson's disease, brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, hydrocephalus
Traumatic brain injury: Head injury from motor vehicle accidents, falls, sport-related concussions
Pulmonary disorders: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, sarcoidosis, interstitial lung disease
Cardiovascular diseases: Coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease
Immune and autoimmune disorders: Systemic lupus erythematosus, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV, connective tissue disorder
Pre- and post-surgical conditions: Kidney transplants, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, organ transplant, deep brain stimulator implantation
Environmental exposures: Infectious bacteria or viruses, solvents, carbon monoxide, lead, occupational exposures
Chronic conditions: Thyroid and sleep disorders, diabetes mellitus
Capacity Evaluations: Can be completed to determine if an individual has the ability to make a variety of decisions or execute a variety of behaviors (e.g., testamentary capacity, capacity to live independently, financial capacity, etc.)
Skills We Test
Neuropsychological procedures may vary in length and are tailored to answer specific questions. They typically incorporate measures of cognitive and behavioral function such as:
- Intellectual/academic functioning
- Problem solving and reasoning
- Visuospatial abilities
- Sensorimotor functioning
- Emotional adjustment and personality
- Motivation and effort
During the Evaluation
Your appointment will take place in our clinic in the Friedenheit Building on the National Jewish Health main campus. A neuropsychologist will interview you about your medical history, mental health history, and any concerns that you have about your thinking abilities. It is often helpful to have a family member or friend present during the clinical interview to provide additional information about your history.
During the evaluation, you will complete paper-and-pencil measures of thinking skills. You will work with a specially trained technician to complete the tests. You may be asked to do some writing, reading, or drawing, and to answer questions verbally. You also may complete measures that will help the neuropsychologist understand how your illness or injury has affected your mood, your personality, or your coping skills.
During testing, your family members or friends will be asked to leave the room.
A comprehensive written report with recommendations will be sent to the referring provider after you complete the evaluation. Verbal feedback to you and/or your referring medical provider is also available.
For more information about neuropsychological evaluations at National Jewish Health, please call 303.398.1139.