Cognition Services

An estimated 45% to 65% of all people with MS experience problems with memory, attention, word finding, processing speed, or other cognitive functions as a symptom of the disease.  These difficulties may be particularly distressing because they are symptoms that nobody sees.  If you are having difficulties performing at work, at home, or in social settings, you may be experiencing a change in your mental abilities.  

The Cognitive Division at the IMSMP provides neuropsychological assessment services in collaboration with your neurologist as part of your comprehensive, multi-disciplinary care.   A neuropsychological evaluation is recommended for all MS patients, whether or not you have experienced cognitive difficulties.  For those without cognitive complaints, the evaluation establishes a baseline level of cognitive functioning in case changes are suspected in the future.   Assessments can also evaluate and address any cognitive difficulties you may currently be experiencing.

 

Download the Neuropsychology Initial Visit form

Before Your Visit

There is no way to “study” for these tests, but there are ways you can prepare for your neuropsychological assessment appointment. 

  • Do your best to get a good night’s sleep
  • Dress in layers or bring a sweater to ensure that you will be comfortable
  • Bring your reading glasses
  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Bring a bottle of water or a snack to be eaten during a break
  • Inform the examiner when you feel the need for a break.  Breaks can be taken as needed for coffee, a snack, or to use the restroom.
  • Turn off your cell phone to minimize distractions during testing

The Neuropsychological Assessment

The comprehensive neuropsychological assessment includes an interview that carefully gathers information about your medical, work, school, psychological, and family history as well as any current concerns.  It also includes a review of your medical records, and administration of   standardized tests that measure abilities in the following areas: 

• intellectual functioning                • executive functioning

• memory /learning                         • language skills

• attention/ concentration              • processing speed

• sensorimotor skills                       • problem-solving

• visuospatial skills                         • academic skill development

• emotional functioning                   • personality

 

All testing is non-invasive and includes paper-and-pencil tasks, drawings, and games that most people find interesting.

After Your Visit

A neuropsychological evaluation will:

  • Establish your baseline cognitive functioning for future comparisons
  • Determine the diagnosis or disorder causing cognitive dysfunction
  • Evaluate progress on treatments—whether pharmacological (e.g., disease modifying agents) or behavioral (e.g., cognitive rehabilitation)
  • Determine disease progression by comparing results to that of prior evaluations
  • Identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses
  • Develop an appropriate treatment plan
  • Determine the need for rehabilitation
  • Determine your capacity to return to work
  • Identify the changes necessary to return to work or   school
  • Make disability determination 

The individual treatment plan may include any of the following recommendations:

  • Consultation with other healthcare professionals
  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • Supportive psychotherapy
  • Medication assessment for mood-related problems
  • Vocational consultation
  • Re-evaluation to monitor change over time

Where possible, a referral will be made to obtain these services from an appropriate provider.