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.
Joanne Festa, Ph.D., a clinical neuropsychologist, conducts comprehensive evaluations based on your individual needs.
There is no way to “study” for these tests, but there are ways you can prepare for your neuropsychological assessment appointment.
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.
Dr. Festa will interpret the test results, integrate all information, and develop an individual treatment plan. Results are reviewed with you at a feedback session two to four weeks after the evaluation.
A neuropsychological evaluation will:
Where possible, Dr. Festa will make a referral to obtain these services from an appropriate provider.