The neuropsychological evaluation consists of a series of meetings in which the neuropsychologist collects useful information to understand the reported problem, through interviews and the administration of standardized tests. The neuropsychologist formulates diagnostic hypotheses based on the reported symptoms and uses the tests and the neuropsychological interview to verify them.
The path to making a diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease consists of several phases that include visits to the neurologist, instrumental examinations and neuropsychological evaluation: for this reason, the neuropsychologist works in collaboration with a neurologist doctor and takes into consideration the various data that they are collected through the prescribed tests.
WHAT IT'S FOR
The objective of the evaluation is to investigate the causes of the reported problems and to understand if they are actually attributable to a cognitive impairment.
On the other hand, when a diagnosis of dementia is already present, the neuropsychological examination is useful to evaluate the progress of the disease.
In the event that you are in the presence of a neurodegenerative pathology, the evaluation can be useful as a starting point for embarking on a path of cognitive enhancement that helps to slow down the progress of the disease.
HOW IT WORKS
The neuropsychological evaluation is divided into several meetings structured as follows:
- a first interview in which the person concerned and any accompanying person report the reasons that led them to request a neuropsychological study;
- an individual meeting in which neuropsychological tests are carried out;
- a final restitution meeting in which the neuropsychologist illustrates what emerged during the evaluation and delivers the report describing the results of the tests with the relative clinical indications of intervention
Neuropsychological treatment in older people is often referred to as “cognitive stimulation” and consists of a non-pharmacological rehabilitation approach aimed at people with a mild and moderate level of dementia.
The goal of treatment is to enhance intact cognitive functions and support the most impaired abilities, in order to slow down the cognitive decline caused by neurodegenerative disease and maintain a good level of autonomy for as long as possible.
Cognitive stimulation is carried out through a training built ad hoc on the characteristics of the person and allows to intervene directly on the cognitive abilities concerned, enhancing them through the use of computer programs or activities that involve these functions.
It is a real "gym for the mind", which, through specific exercises, helps to maintain certain brain functions, such as attention, memory, executive functions, praxic skills, visuospatial skills and language.
HOW IT IS STRUCTURED
For a training to be effective, it must last for at least two months. To meet the different needs, however, it can be structured in two ways:
The first involves two or three one-hour sessions on a weekly basis for a period of two months. In these meetings, the person will train intensively the skills that need strengthening, with the use of special software and paper and pencil tasks. At the end of the training, a brief evaluation of the cognitive function concerned will be carried out again, to verify the degree of improvement obtained. In addition, indications may be given to caregivers, to continue the cognitive training even at home, in order to support the progress achieved.
A second modality foresees that the first part of the training is performed at our center, while the second will be performed at home in tele-rehabilitation mode. The caregiver will therefore be directly involved in learning how to manage the training in order to be able to continue to apply the treatment consistently in the following months, with the possibility of supervision by the neuropsychologist. At the end of the agreed period, a short reassessment will be carried out to verify the progress achieved.
WHERE WE CAN INTERVENE
• Exercises to increase alertness, inhibition of distracting stimuli, concentration for prolonged times
• Exercises to keep more information in memory, strategies to remember the information learned for longer
• Exercises to increase the ability to stick to the instructions given, to plan the steps to carry out a task efficiently
• Exercises to train space management skills, increase accuracy in carrying out graphic tasks, improve orientation