Neuropsychological test


Neuropsychological test
Neuropsychological test
Diagnostics
MeSH D009483

Neuropsychological tests are specifically designed tasks used to measure a psychological function known to be linked to a particular brain structure or pathway. Tests are used for research into brain function and in a clinical setting for the diagnosis of deficits. They usually involve the systematic administration of clearly defined procedures in a formal environment. Neuropsychological tests are typically administered to a single person working with an examiner in a quiet office environment, free from distractions. As such, it can be argued that neuropsychological tests at times offer an estimate of a person's peak level of cognitive performance. Neuropsychological tests are a core component of the process of conducting neuropsychological assessment, along with personal, interpersonal and contextual factors.

Most neuropsychological tests in current use are based on traditional psychometric theory. In this model, a person's raw score on a test is compared to a large general population normative sample, that should ideally be drawn from a comparable population to the person being examined. Normative studies frequently provide data stratified by age, level of education, and/or ethnicity, where such factors have been shown by research to affect performance on a particular test. This allows for a person's performance to be compared to a suitable control group, and thus provide a fair assessment of their current cognitive function.

Contents

Categories of neuropsychological tests

Most forms of cognition actually involve multiple cognitive functions working in unison, however tests can be organised into broad categories based on the cognitive function which they predominantly assess.[1]

Intelligence

Intelligence testing in a research context is relatively more straightforward than in a clinical context. In research, intelligence is tested and results are generally as obtained, however in a clinical setting intelligence maybe impaired. The presence of impairment can be determined through a number of methods which include: Comparison of test results to expected achievement levels based on prior education and occupation. The use of hold tests which are based on cognitive faculties which are generally good indicators of intelligence and thought to be more resistant to cognitive damage, e.g. language.

Memory

Memory is a very broad ability which includes several types of memory which can be selectively impaired. If there are indications that memory maybe impaired, tests focussing on specific types of memory or a more thorough battery of memory tests is required to accurately define exactly what memory processes have been impaired.

  • California Verbal Learning Test
  • Cambridge Prospective Memory Test (CAMPROMPT)
  • Doors and People
  • Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test
  • Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test
  • Test of Memory and Learning (TOMAL)
  • Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM)
  • Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS)

Language

Language functions include speech, reading and writing, all of which can be selectively impaired.

Executive Function

Executive functions are an umbrella term for a various cognitive processes and sub-processes.[2] The executive functions include: problem solving, planning, organisational skills, selective attention, inhibitory control and some aspects of short term memory.[3]

Dementia specific

Dementia testing is often done by way of testing the cognitive functions that are most often impaired by the disease e.g. memory, orientation, language and problem solving. Tests such as these are by no means conclusive of deficits, but may give a good indication as to the presence or severity of dementia.

Batteries assessing multiple neuropsychological function

There are some test batteries which combine a range of tests to provide an overview of cognitive skills. These are usually good early tests to rule out problems in certain functions and provide an indication of functions which may need to be tested more specifically.

  • Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)
  • Cognistat (The Neurobehavioral Cognitive Status Examination)
  • Cognitive Assessment Screening Instrument (CASI)
  • Cognitive Function Scanner (CFS)
  • Dean-Woodcock Neuropsychology Assessment System (DWNAS)
  • General Practitioner Assessment Of Cognition (GPCOG)
  • Hooper Visual Organization Test
  • Luria-Nebraska Neuropsychological battery
  • MicroCog
  • Mini mental state examination (MMSE)
  • NEPSY
  • Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status
  • CDR Computerized Assessment System

See also

References

  1. ^ Lezak, M. D., Howieson, D. B., Loring, D. W., Hannay, H. J. & Fischer, J. S. (2004). Neuropsychological Assessment, 4th ed.. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195111217. 
  2. ^ Elliot R. (2003). "Executive functions and their disorders". British Medical Bulletin 65 (1): 49–59. doi:10.1093/bmb/ldg65.049. 
  3. ^ Morgan, A. B. & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2000). "A meta-analytic review of the relation between antisocial behaviours and neuropsychological measures of executive function". Clinical Psychology Review 20 (1): 113–136. doi:10.1016/S0272-7358(98)00096-8. 

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