Epilepsy Talk

Exactly what IS Neuropsychology? | February 13, 2022

I never had a clue what neuropsychology was all about. Although it sounded like a good idea.

Then a while ago, I had an assessment. (Mercifully, it was the two-hour test and not the 8-hour version.)

The neuropsychologist I went to had all the records from my last 12 years with my neurologist and it was clear he had done his homework.

The question was, did my deficit in memory come from my history of seizures, my previous concussions (one of which had been only a month ago) or even age itself? (I thought to myself, geeze, I’m only 68!)

Here’s basically what happened…

First he interviewed me.

He wanted to know what I perceived as my problems, a very brief history and my husband was included in order to give his input.

Then, when my husband left, I was given numbers to remember in order and then in reverse.

With each succession, more numbers were added to the list.

There was the same exercise with words.

Interestingly, about ten minutes after each exercise, I was asked to do it again.

But only with the numbers or words that I had remembered from the first time.

I was asked to complete geometric images which became more and more complicated, and my “progress” was timed.

There were also words to define and stories to remember after ten minutes’ time.

(I did great with the names, places and most of the stories, but couldn’t remember any of the numbers to save my life.)

At the end, it was determined that although my EEG had been “clean,” there was further damage to my brain tissue than in my last EEG, two years ago.

The major conclusion was that my memory and processing of information were below normal and to help me get up to speed, the neuropsychologist suggested a 30 hour cognitive computer program called “Posit Science.”

Now for those not “in the know,” (like I was) here’s a brief run-down on exactly what neuropsychological tests are and their purpose…

Neuropsychological tests are a series of measures that identify cognitive impairment and functioning of your brain.

An evaluation may be brief or may last several hours. Usually, both easy and difficult tests are given to see how you do on different levels. Some of the tests will be timed, others will not.

The different tests given are to measure different functions. Each is linked to a specific area of the brain.

If you do well overall, but do poorly on a few tests that measure the same function, the neuropsychologist knows which area of your brain is not working properly. That area may be where seizures are coming from.

And because the neuropsychologist is a professional within the field of psychology, with special expertise in the science of brain-behavior relationships, he/she is in the rare position to evaluate what’s going on in your brain and how it affects your emotional and physical behaviors.

The tests themselves provide data about the following areas:

Language

Academic skills

Intellectual functioning

Attention, memory, and learning – visual and verbal

Speed of processing

Perceptual and motor abilities

Planning and organization

Problem solving and conceptualization

Emotions, behavior, and personality

The end result is to qualify:

Ability to understand and express language

Attention and processing speed

Short-term and long-term memory

Visual-spatial organization

Visual-motor coordination

Reasoning and problem-solving ability

Planning, synthesizing, and organizing abilities

Once the evaluation is complete, the neuropsychologist will examine the results of your tests.

Those results are compared with the results of people the same age as you who have a similar background.

If you’ve been tested before, the neuropsychologist will compare the new results with your results on earlier tests.

He/She then writes a report. If the results show that one area of your brain is not functioning normally, the report will say that.

And it may include recommendations for further treatment, for job retraining, or for retesting at a later date.

To me, the beauty of neuropsychology is that it doesn’t just look at the brain, or emotions, or capabilities alone. It looks at the whole neurological system as one, integrated picture.

As Oliver Sacks, the legendary physician, professor of neurology and psychiatry said:

“In each human being, things are constantly shifting in their significance, as is the underlying neurophysiological response.

Neuronal groups are organized into sheets of brain tissue, called maps, which respond to different kinds of external stimuli — auditory, visual, and tactile — as well as to one another.”

For me, it was a real eye-opener!

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Resources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/neuropsychologist

https://www.advancedpsy.com/documentation/1-what-is-neuropsychology/

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/317596-overview

http://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/neuro.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/brain/neuropsychological-tests#1

http://www.neurodevelop.com/neuropsychological_testing


13 Comments »

  1. Is this similar to the M E G test that I had done in December 2021 ? When I FINNALY got those results the neurologist told me of the area where I had brain surgery, it showed what he called a HOT SPOT location of the temporal lobe that still is creating HELL at times preventing me from having a normal brain chemistry which the area triggers all the EXITITORY nerve ending, making the inhibitory nerve endings like powerless to do anything to make for a balance in brain chemistry. SUDDENLY there come XCOPRI that when I read more about it, BEFORE MY OFFICE VISIT with the neurologist, it reads where the drug can calm the brain by helping the inhibitory area of the GABA transmitter to be more active, in which the GLUTAMATE start to produce more of the GABA is it suppose to make but seems to not do so because of either the GLUTAMATE FUNCTION or the GABA FUNCTION is not working with the other to make for a balance brain chemistry to make it that seizures MAYBE CAN BE OR WILL BE A MEMORY. , I’ve always said thet the rapture of Jesus will happen before I ever become seizure free from any AED, since for over 60 years none has worked for me yet ?? BUT EXCOPRI seems to have broken that seizure cycle that Ihave had for the past 10 years it seems as I have seen since i started taking it in NOV 2021, what the pattern IS NOW compared to what is was, as so far NO 2022 seizures have happened and last year & years before JANUARY was always a seizure month, as was MARCH, MAY, sometimes JUNE, along with AUGUST, sometimes SEPT with NOVEMBER. 2021 had 5 seizures, 1 in the hospital as 2020 had 7 seizures, which I never looked to see 2021 after that WORSE YEAR having 7 focal/grand mals in a year. 8 more months will tell a lot as NOV 9 2021 was my last seizure I had. PLUS NOW I can eat more of the foods that I KNOW in the past created the seizures, BECAUSE the MSG’s & other toxins did NOT accept them, as I knew then as the SAME REASONS I will not eat them or want them to eat, NOW because of XCOPRI I am not afraid to have 1 of those foods now or then because I am at home IF anything bad will be about to happen. SPEGETII I am about to have in another hour, so time will tell if nothing happens by 6PM. W O W never did I ever think that a few doctors & scientist / drug makers would EVER listen to the words I have been saying for 50 years now. Seem like they have IGNORED IT all for at least 30 years. Dr. William Theodore when at the NIH hopefully has eaten his words he said to me AND the same for Dr MARK QUINN at the UVA. This XCOPRI I believe any kid could take at a very slow increase every 5 to 10 years, as taking MORE & MORE EVERY 6 MONTHS of DILANTIN & KEPPRA & OTHER AED’s only damages a brain in the processing of brain development & THEY THE NEUROLOGISTS & BIG PHARMA KNOW THAT IS TRUE. I am living proof of that after 61 years of AED’s Do NOT allow them to do the same to you under 60 years old living with seizures & the FEAR op them. XCOPRI seems to be making FEAR like it really is False Evidence Appearing Real, Just ask your doctor about XCOPRI. He or She may not want to to have LESS seizures by saying NO about it. Like a few days, weeks, months, years , or decades of seizures is not enough to live with.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — February 13, 2022 @ 12:15 PM

  2. This is an external neuropsychological analysis.

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 13, 2022 @ 12:28 PM

    • James,
      Your seizures sound more Focal than Generalized. All seizures can be very difficult to treat mainly because of their biochemical nature as you often point out. A neuropsychologist, I believe, tries to understand the neurology behind the behavior and then tries to help us work with that. They can’t prescribe medication but they do help us understand ourselves much better.
      I have been going to a wonderful Dr for years. She, in combination with my neurologist has helped me understand the relationship between the way I have felt while taking certain medications and adjusting or compensating for those feelings. I take Keppra too. I didn’t like it at first but there is nothing else that works for me. Both Drs helped me recognize how my body felt but she worked with the behavioral aspects of those feelings until I realized what I could do on my own. The same is true for the depressive components to the illness we have. I now recognize when I’m in that “hole” and I know what it feels like and the thoughts that go with it. They are very dark and bad. I also know what to do to get out of that hole. I have now been seizure free for 10 years but I still have to work at it all the time. I have Secondary Generalized Epilepsy and know that I could have a seizure any time that could cause death . I choose not to think about that but rather to live my life. When I need to rest I do. It would be great if we all fit neatly into a box and the treatment was easy but it isn’t and you know that. We are a complex genetic, biochemical puzzle on a different spectrum, if you will. Most of the time no one can tell there’s anything wrong with me and often don’t believe me when I say I feel off and have a terrible migraine! You can see every expression on my face and you shouldn’t be able to. I’m part of medical journals and studies. I let my neurologist teach residents during my visits that I’m not a typical epileptic because I’m not so they wouldn’t lump us all into one group.
      Don’t give up James. Listen to your body and give it a chance to try to help you help yourself. Slow down, breathe and talk to your Dr more. It sounds like you are doing the right things by eating healthy but we all need help at times getting in touch with ourselves behaviorally. It can’t hurt. Be well😁

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Janet R — February 13, 2022 @ 2:27 PM

  3. I had neuropsychological testing and the result is that I am average for my age. I said I don’t want to average for my age., but she didn’t give me any tools to increase my abilities…sort of what they do in studies they don’t tell you how to help yourself they just drop you. oh another thing this is in a major NYC hospital the female doc told me adults do not have ADHD which while not epilepsy who knows may have some connection.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by SANDRA LINENSCHMIDT — February 13, 2022 @ 1:49 PM

    • This article is tilted to children, but the same thing pertains to adults…

      Is it ADHD…Epilepsy…or Both? https://epilepsytalk.com/2020/06/30/is-it-adhdepilepsyor-both/

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 13, 2022 @ 2:06 PM

      • Wow Sandra!
        I’m sorry you had that experience, that’s terrible. That’s just so wrong.
        Adults don’t have ADHD?? When Covid first hit they said kids don’t get it🥴 Well, they did didn’t they? They are just tiny versions of adult human beings and I don’t see the difference. Of course adults have ADHD! And kids are not immune to Covid either!!
        However, I have found that it isn’t always the Dr who is wrong. Sometimes it is the scope of their training. It’s a tedious job but in searching for a good Dr we need to look into their background and specialties more. Today, more and more Drs only specialize in certain areas. Don’t be surprised if you end up with an Epilepsy Dr, a Migraine one and one for ADHD just for example. They might all be affiliated with a great hospital but that’s just what medicine has become.
        I recently moved out of state and it has taken me over 7 months to find Drs I need and they are all different. It was a pain in the butt to research but I had the help of my new insurance company to help me do it too. Hang in there, don’t give up on this. There are very good Drs who can help you.
        Be well!!😁

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Janet R. — February 13, 2022 @ 2:57 PM

  4. Here are some articles that support the connection between Epilepsy and ADHD

    Results from a study (soon coming out in the journal Epilepsia) of 1400 adults with epilepsy from across the United States to understand attention disorders in adults with seizures and epilepsy.

    Interestingly, ADHD symptoms were found in one out of five adults with epilepsy!
    People with any of these symptoms were at greater risk of other problems such as anxiety, depression and poorer quality of life overall.
    Symptoms of attention disorders like ADHD or ADD may include difficulty with:

    paying attention or concentrating
    completing tasks
    being organized
    frequently losing things
    becoming easily bored
    impulsiveness
    hyperactivity or difficulty sitting still
    restlessness or being fidgety
    https://www.epilepsy.com/article/2014/12/adhd-adults-epilepsy

    1 in 5 Adults With Epilepsy Also Has ADHD Symptoms
    https://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/news/20150115/1-in-5-adults-with-epilepsy-also-has-adhd-symptoms-study

    Your Attention, Please: ADHD Linked With Epilepsy
    https://practicalneurology.com/articles/2015-mar/your-attention-please-adhd-linked-with-epilepsy

    ADHD Symptoms Common in Adult Epilepsy
    https://www.neurologylive.com/view/adhd-symptoms-common-adult-epilepsy

    The Surprising Link Between ADHD and Epilepsy
    https://www.sharecare.com/brain-health-nervous-system/epilepsy/epilepsy-ADHD-connection

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 13, 2022 @ 2:28 PM

    • Love this Phylis!! I have often wondered how many disorders could be attached to Epilepsy. Autism is. It’s a Spectrum disorder and with all the different types of Epilepsy it would make sense to me that Epilepsy could follow suit as a Spectrum disorder too. So many issues in the brain create seizures. So many other issues in the body create seizures as a symptom. It makes sense!
      Thank you😁

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Janet R — February 13, 2022 @ 3:45 PM

  5. A Memory Story—What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by William Lipkin — February 14, 2022 @ 5:45 AM

  6. Where did you find the neuropsychologist?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy — February 15, 2022 @ 1:40 PM


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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