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Brain Injury: What Is a Neuropsychological Assessment?

Tuesday, December 06, 2016By Richard Alexander

When you or a loved one has suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), there is so much to learn. Symptoms can be complex, and diagnosis and treatment can be lengthy. Just the tests that can be used may be confusing to many people. One of the key evaluations is called a “neuropsychological assessment.”

A neuropsychological assessment is conducted by an expert— called a neuropsychologist —who specializes in analyzing brain function. Neuropsychological assessments are usually conducted after traditional medical testing has been exhausted.

Early on, doctors use computed tomography scans (CT scans) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brain when brain injury is suspected. Other medical imaging may be performed to determine the extent of a TBI.

A neuropsychological assessment is different because it focuses on using psychological tests to measure brain function. The neuropsychologist learns about what the victim was like before the accident. To do this, he or she reviews medical records and interviews with key people in the person’s life. This allows the neuropsychologist to piece together a picture of what the victim was like before the accident.

The neuropsychologist next administers tests to evaluate several aspects of brain function, such as the following:

  • organizational thinking and planning;
  • attention span;
  • concentration and memory;
  • learning abilities;
  • spatial perception;
  • problem-solving;
  • judgment in social situations;
  • motor abilities;
  • reasoning abilities; and
  • emotional characteristics.

Gathering this information allows the neuropsychologist to compare the victim’s brain function before and after the accident. Using this information, the neuropsychologist can help the victim and his or her family understand brain function impairments. The neuropsychological assessment can also guide the patient’s treatment plan and support structure.

If someone you love was killed or injured in a crash, contact the Alexander Law Group, LLP today at 888.777.1776. We are a nationally-recognized and award-winning personal injury law firm with offices in San Jose and San Francisco. We are passionate about our clients and our community. If you not sure, read what our clients have to say. All calls are free and confidential.

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