Following an initial consultation, it is likely you will then meet with a neuropsychologist with your loved one. They will get a deeper understanding as to your loved one’s current cognitive function and memory. The first stage is to conduct a Neuropsychology Assessment or ‘memory clinic test’ as it is more commonly known.
This assessment will determine how well each part of the brain (known as lobes) are functioning. The test is focused on understanding recall and short-term memory. Both are impacted if someone is living with dementia. If a person struggles to complete the memory test successfully, this may indicate damage to the frontal lobe or temporal lobe in the brain. The frontal lobe covers thinking, planning and problem solving. The temporal lobe is responsible for memory.
The neuropsychologist will initially conduct a general screening of your loved one’s brain. Many neurologists use the Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination (third edition). This tests attention, orientation, memory, language, visual perceptual and visuospatial skills. It is useful in the detection of cognitive impairment. It is especially helpful in the detection of Alzheimer’s disease and frontal-temporal dementia. Depending on the outputs of this test, the neuropsychologist will undertake more detailed testing of areas of concern.
The test can take up to two hours. Once the test is complete the neuropsychologist will summarise how well your loved one performed in the test. They will then compare results to the national average.