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Common questions

Adult Common Questions


Pediatric Common Questions

 

What is Neuropsychology?

Clinical neuropsychology involves the evaluation and management of problems in brain functions.  A neuropsychological evaluation is recommended when someone has forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, or difficulty solving problems.  These changes can be due to any number of neurological, medical, or emotional problems.  An evaluation can be recommended for people who have conditions such as strokes, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, seizures, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and Multiple Sclerosis.

 

What is a Neuropsychologist?

A Neuropsychologist is a specialist who has training in clinical psychology, with additional training and understanding of the relationship between the brain and behaviors or functions of the brain.  These functions include memory, attention, language skills, and problem solving skills.  When illness or injury to the brain occurs, people will often see a neuropsychologist for evaluation and management of problems they may have in their thinking.

 

How can the results of a neuropsychological exam be used?

A Neuropsychologist is a specialist who evaluates brain functions such as memory, attention, language skills, and problem solving skills.  Neuropsychological evaluations involve assessment of brain functions and often emotional functions.  The results of these exams can assist your medical team by determining the cause of your thinking problems and guiding treatment.

 

What is the difference between seizures and epilepsy?

A seizure is unusual electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can be caused by several factors including fever, head injury, or lack of oxygen. A single seizure does not mean a person has epilepsy. Epilepsy is a disorder that involves recurring seizures.  Treatment typically involves medications, but neuropsychologists are also involved in helping people with epilepsy who may also have changes in their thinking.

 

I was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and my doctor recommended a neuropsychological examination. How can this examination help manage my MS?

A neuropsychological examination evaluates brain functions such as memory, attention, language skills, and problem solving skills. Nearly half of all patients with MS will experience changes in their thinking. People with MS may experience forgetfulness or problems concentrating and would likely benefit from an exam to determine what is the cause of these changes in thinking and how to best treat these issues.

 

I would like to know if my elderly mother is competent to make her own decisions. Does she need a neuropsychological exam?

Neuropsychological evaluations measure brain functions such as memory, attention, language, and problem solving. An exam is requested at times when there is concern that a person is no longer able to make their own decisions.  This question is often raised when a person has advancing dementia or other neurologic conditions that affect thinking and memory.

 

I recently suffered a stroke and want to know if I can return to driving. How can a neuropsychological exam help make that determination?

Neuropsychological evaluations measure brain functions such as memory, attention, language, and problem solving. An exam can determine if you are able to react and respond quickly in situations that generally occur during driving. Driving schools also offer driving evaluations that may be helpful with this concern as well.

 

I have noticed that my 75 year old husband is becoming more forgetful. He is forgetting to take his medications and sometimes confuses the names of our children. How can I find out if he has Alzheimer’s Disease?

The cause of his memory difficulties can be due to a variety of health changes which may or may not be related to Alzheimer's disease. With natural aging there are expected decreases in memory; however, a neuropsychological evaluation can help determine if the problem is a result of aging or a degenerative disease.

 

What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease?

Dementia is a condition that involves a gradual decline in memory and other thinking skills, which affects a person's ability to perform daily activities. Dementia occurs mainly in the elderly and can have many causes. Among older adults, Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and involves changes in the brain that affect functioning. There can be other conditions which cause dementia including vascular disease or other neurological conditions.

 

I have noticed lately that I am having difficulty focusing. How can I find out the cause and any treatments that might be helpful?

There are a number of issues that can cause a person to have difficulty concentrating. A neuropsychologist is an expert who evaluates factors that could be affecting your ability to concentrate. Based on information gathered during interview, along with actual testing, the neuropsychologist would provide an appropriate diagnosis and recommendations for optimal treatment of your attention problems.

 

My father was diagnosed with dementia. I am concerned about getting the disease myself. How will I know if I’m starting to get signs of dementia?

Dementia is diagnosed when a person shows decline in memory functions and other areas of thinking. These changes in memory and thinking must impact your ability to function day to day in order to reach diagnosis of dementia. Dementia occurs mainly in the elderly, but can sometimes affect younger adults.  The causes of dementia vary, with Alzheimer's disease the most common cause among older adults.  If you have concerns about early dementia, you may benefit from a neuropsychological evaluation. If problems are evident on testing, recommendations for treatment will be made.

 

I fell on the ice a few months ago and I continue to have difficulty remembering day to day information. How do I begin to get this concern addressed?

Head injury can often lead to changes in memory, attention, and other thinking skills. Usually these problems resolve themselves over time, but depending on the severity of your fall or other factors, recovery may take longer. Neuropsychological evaluation would involve measurement of your current functions and also provide treatment recommendations.

 

My memory seems to be getting worse as I get older. How can I know if this forgetfulness is normal for my age?

It is normal for people to experience some memory decline as they get older. Abnormal memory problems may be due to diseases like dementia or Alzheimer's. A neuropsychologist can measure your brain function in the areas of memory, attention, language, and problem solving to determine if your problems are consistent with normal aging or if there is some condition affecting your functioning.  Treatment recommendations are also offered with this type of evaluation.

 

My mother had a stroke last year but she has problems that are different than my friend who also had a stroke. How can I learn about what her deficits are and what we can do to help my mother?

Cognitive functions often change following a stroke. Deficits can include problems with memory, attention, language, and problem solving. People heal differently from a stroke based upon the location of the stroke in their brain and its severity. A neuropsychologist can evaluate your mother's functioning and develop treatment recommendations that may optimize her functioning and recovery.

 

I am having problems concentrating at work. How can I get help for my problem?

There could be many possible reasons why you are having problems concentrating. It is important to discuss these problems with your doctor, who may suggest further evaluation of your problems.  A consultation with a neuropsychologist can help determine the cause of your concentration difficulties and recommend the appropriate treatment.

 

I was recently in a car accident and injured my head. I am having problems remembering and want to know who I should see for help.

Head injury can often lead to changes in memory, attention, and other thinking skills. People who have mild injuries may have problems remembering conversations with others or where they placed items.  More severe head injuries may have longer lasting problems in thinking and this could impact day to day functions. A consult with a neuropsychologist can help determine what functions have been affected by the injury and suggest treatment options.

 

What is dementia?

Dementia is a condition that involves decline in memory and other thinking skills that is severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform routine activities. The cause of decline can be due to a variety of health changes, but the changes are much greater than would be expected from normal aging.  Alzheimer's Disease accounts for about half of all cases of dementia. Other possible causes include depression, tumors, infections or stroke.

 

 

 

Pediatric Common Questions 


Adult Common Questions

 

My 12 year old sustained a concussion playing baseball last week. How long will it take for him to recover?

A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a blow to the head. Some possible symptoms of concussion include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and balance problems. Sometimes a person is even "knocked out," but not always. Recovery varies from person to person, but a neuropsychological evaluation can help determine when it is safe for your child to return to playing sports.

 

What is the difference between seizures and epilepsy?

A seizure is unusual electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can be caused by several factors including fever, head injury, or lack of oxygen. A single seizure does not mean a person has epilepsy. Epilepsy is a disorder that involves recurring seizures.  Treatment typically involves medications, but neuropsychologists are also involved in helping people with epilepsy who may also have changes in their thinking.

 

My child mixes up the letters “b” and “d” when reading and writing. What does this mean?

It is common for young children to confuse letters when learning to read and write. Most children stop doing this as they get older. If the problem persists, your child may have a learning disability like dyslexia. A neuropsychological evaluation can determine the cause of these problems.

 

It has always seemed hard to connect with my 7 year old son. His language was delayed, he makes very little eye contact, and he seems to have a very hard time making friends. What could be wrong with him?

There are several things that could be affecting your son's functioning. One possibility is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (like autism or Asperger's), which is characterized by three main components: impaired ability to communicate, impaired social skills, and usual, restricted interests. A neuropsychological examination can help clarify the cause of your son's issues.

 

My daughter was recently diagnosed with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Is medication the only way to manage this?

There are several different treatments for children with ADHD. Medication is commonly used to balance chemicals in the brain. Behavioral therapy can teach children how to adapt their behaviors to be more successful in school, at home, or interacting with others. Parent and teacher support is important for such behavior modifications to be helpful. Some people also report improvements in their child's behavior with alternative methods, such as diet changes or natural herbs, but these have not been proven with research yet. Neuropsychologists can make recommendations about the best treatment for your child, based on his or her individual problems.

 

My child seems to be very down and “blue.” Can children have depression?

Yes, children can have depression, and there are many possible causes. It may be a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, or day-to-day experiences. Situations children experience at school or at home can be difficult for them because they do not have the skills necessary to cope with them. Depression can affect a child's ability to learn and perform well in school, so it is important to address these issues. An evaluation by a neuropsychologist can measure the severity of your child's mood and make recommendations for treatment.

 

My daughter has always done well in school for all of her classes except math. Is it possible that she has a learning disability?

Learning disabilities in math do exist. Problems with math can involve difficulty understanding basic math facts and concepts, or they can be due to inconsistencies in making calculations. It is difficult to know if your child has a true learning disability or simply has weaker math skills compared to her other academic skills. A neuropsychological evaluation can help determine if your child is functioning at an appropriate skill level and make a formal diagnosis of a learning disorder, if appropriate.

 

How can exposure to lead affect a child’s cognitive development?

Children are especially vulnerable to the affects of lead because their brains are still developing. Exposure can affect both a child's behavior and thinking, causing inattention, hyperactivity, lower intelligence, and learning problems. If a child experiences lead poisoning, a neuropsychological evaluation can help determine the extent to which his/her thinking and behavior has been affected.

 

If my child is having problems in school, how could a neuropsychological assessment help?

An assessment can confirm if a student has a learning disability or attention deficit disorder and help the student, parents, and teacher understand why the child has been experiencing difficulties in school. Neuropsychologists can make recommendations (based on test results) to help students meet school requirements. Students who have a documented diagnosis may be eligible for services from their school such as special classes, longer test times or alternative forms for exams.

 

My 9 year old son received chemotherapy for leukemia a few years ago. His treatment ended a year ago and he has been doing very well, but now he seems to have difficulty paying attention and is having trouble in school. Can this be related to his leukemia?

Yes, children can experience changes in thinking skills following leukemia and chemotherapy treatment. Some common difficulties include delays in academic achievement, attention, and slowed thinking speed. A neuropsychological examination evaluates functions such as memory, attention, language, and problem solving skills, and can help determine what if any difficulties your child is currently having.

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BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.