For those who aren’t familiar with the term, Neurocognitive testing is a method for non-invasively measuring brain function. It uses computerized tests or paper and pencil kinds of examinations to evaluate the most important aspects of cognition, including reaction time, memory, attention span, language, and perception. Neurocognitive testing is much more effective and accurate than simply asking someone how they’re feeling or how they’re doing because it actually measures how they’re feeling or doing by assessing their response to specific tasks.
These tasks are formulated with the direct intention of assessing specific brain function aspects, and by measuring responses to these tasks, it is possible to gain a fairly clear idea of what’s happening in the brain. The real value of Neurocognitive testing is that it provides perfectly objective tests so that responses can be compared to those responses from a much wider population, or against the same person’s responses from a previous test. In this way, is possible to obtain a snapshot of any person’s brain health.
Advantages of Neurocognitive testing
The primary advantages of neuro-cognitive testing stem from the fact that it is far less invasive than any other type of brain measurement test, and it’s also far less costly. It takes very little time to complete neuro-cognitive testing, and the test can be administered in an ordinary setting in a classroom or office, with the patient supplying answers at a desk or on a tablet.
It is also far superior to surgical methods which may involve risk to the patient, as well as taking up a considerable amount of time. Through evaluation of a patient’s responses to some simple questions and tests, it can effectively be determined whether the patient has any kind of learning disability, is suffering from dementia, or whether the patient might be experiencing the symptoms commonly incurred after a concussion.
Who can benefit from Neurocognitive testing?
A leader in the field of neuro-cognitive brain testing is the company called BrainCheck, which has devised brain tests which accurately identify a person’s brain health at any given moment. Medical Healthcare Solutions Inc. of Andover, MA has partnered with BrainCheck to provide all its clients with a simple test that can be used to advantage by anyone who is suspected of having suffered some kind of cognitive loss or degradation. The people who might benefit from this kind of test includes athletes, elderly persons, children, and just about everyone else.
In years past, concussion symptoms were frequently missed, partly because athletes were unaware of the possibility of a concussion, and also due to the fact that it was not widely known how prevalent concussions are in contact sports. With no medical expertise necessary whatsoever, a neuro-cognitive test can be administered right on the playing field to determine whether or not an athlete has sustained a concussion or some kind of violent trauma to the head area.
Athletes are not the only ones who might benefit from Neurocognitive testing, however. Elderly people who are suspected of early-stage dementia can also be evaluated and diagnosed, based on the responses they provide to testing tasks. While dementia cannot be cured or reversed, it is always advantageous to diagnose it as early as possible, so that the impacts can be slowed, and so that patients can be more closely monitored.
Neuro-cognitive testing can also be used effectively on youngsters to determine whether or not they have learning disabilities. Any child who is suspected of having a learning disability can be given a neuro-cognitive test, and have the results compared to the broader population of children’s scores, to see where abilities are lacking. This can be very important in a young person’s life because learning disabilities can be overcome if they are identified and reacted to.
In the broadest sense, almost everyone can benefit from Neurocognitive testing, especially if tests are taken periodically throughout a person’s life. The results from each test at a given point in someone’s life can be considered a baseline for that specific age and can be compared to the same test scores from previous years. When there are significant variations in the test scores, this could be a cause for concern and should be something that is investigated, to determine if there has been an actual cognitive drop-off.
The tests have been designed in such a way that they won’t be any easier or harder at various points in a person’s life, and are not related in any way to knowledge acquired throughout a lifetime. By simply measuring the time it takes to respond, and the accuracy of those responses, a glimpse into brain function can be provided at any point in a person’s life.