What is the benefit of a Neuropsychological testing?

Posted by DanL @tunared, Mar 8, 2021

my wife has an upcoming Neuropsychological test and is very nervous (and very anxious) about the test. She (and I) would like to know what is the benefit to her for taking this type of test? She knows her memory is not what it was 5-10 years ago and doesn't understand why she should take the test. She thinks they are using her as a guinea pig with this type of test. I cannot provide her with any benefits that would come from taking the test. Can anyone help?

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@IndianaScott

Hello @doclax I'm Scott and I'm glad you found Mayo Connect. I found Connect when I was struggling to find solid support/advice for me as a long-term caregiver.

My wife fought a war with brain cancer for 14 1/2 years with many of her symptoms being similar to those of dementia patients, such as was the case with my MIL. Her neuro docs also recommended neuropsych testing for her and while it was not her favorite part of her visits, she did agree to do them. In talking to her when she was deciding, she told me there were two things that motivated her to do them. First, she knew the results helped me, as her caregiver, understand where things stood and what changes had occurred since the last test. Kind of a road map of where we were and how fast or in what direction we were now headed. It did help me as kind of an early-warning system for what might be coming our way. Her second motivation was the fact she was treated at Mayo and as a teaching hospital, she hoped her results would someday help other patients, doctors, researchers, and caregivers in similar situations to hers.

I know every patient and their journeys are unique, but I share my wife's experiences in the hopes it will help someone along the line here.

Strength, Courage, & Peace

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Thank you for sharing your experience with this topic. My husband doesn't agree easily for any testing and doubts the results when he is tested. In fact, he tells me that he is "just as he has always been" and I "am the one changing!" I suppose he is partially right as we all change as the years go by. We are soon to be going in for another check-in/evaluation with his Mayo neurologist and I am hoping to find out how far we have advanced on our Parkinson/Lewy Body Dementia journey. Though we have had several Zoom appointments over the last year and a half, I find the in person visits reveal more information to the doctors. I wish my husband, who is a retired educational leader, would have the same attitudes towards testing as your wife. It would be so helpful to me. Take care and thanks again for sharing your experience.

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@hbjuniperflat

Thank you for sharing your experience with this topic. My husband doesn't agree easily for any testing and doubts the results when he is tested. In fact, he tells me that he is "just as he has always been" and I "am the one changing!" I suppose he is partially right as we all change as the years go by. We are soon to be going in for another check-in/evaluation with his Mayo neurologist and I am hoping to find out how far we have advanced on our Parkinson/Lewy Body Dementia journey. Though we have had several Zoom appointments over the last year and a half, I find the in person visits reveal more information to the doctors. I wish my husband, who is a retired educational leader, would have the same attitudes towards testing as your wife. It would be so helpful to me. Take care and thanks again for sharing your experience.

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My pleasure, @hbjuniperflat I wish you all the best with your follow-ups! Let me know if you have any other questions as I am always willing to share what we learned during our journey,
Strength, Courage, & Peace

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@larryh123

Hello:
I am am Lewy Body dementia patient. Early onset – diagnosed at 57. Now 3 years into it.
It’s great that your wife can help with things. I get a good feelin when i feel that i have contributed.

For me – the neuropsych tests are used to
1) look at the areas of the brain that are involved – for me executive functioning is the main area with deficits in other areas which can help steer toward one diagnosis
2) track progression – I have progressed from mild impairment to moderate impairment

At some point, you have to think of putting themselves through hours of testing annually. This is on my mind as well at this point.

Stay safe and well.
Larry H.

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My husband has been through the neuro-psyche testing at least three times. He dreads it for days before it actually happens. I try to help him with the anxiety and try to provide some coping skills (this is not a test to enter college- just enjoy the time you are with the testers, etc ). He did tell them he would like to skip the math portion from now on and that was fine with them and with me. As his caregiver and as a former teacher, the testing is very beneficial to me. It does help with getting a handle on the progression of the disease and takes away some guesswork of the pace of decline. It helps to find things he can do well as it identifies areas of strength and helps me to capitalize on them. It also provides ideas of how to help him cope as some skills become weaker….and it helps me to try to be more patient and compassionate…some days are easier than others. I just keep reminding myself of how grateful I am to have had the once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of this amazing man's life. He has taken very good care of our family, and I treasure this time to be his help mate through this part of our journey.

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I loved your comment "I just keep reminding myself of how grateful I am …." My wife is in the late stage of Alzheimer's Disease and I love her more than ever just the way she is. I put a note on her mirror "How great is God's goodness to have given you to me to love for a lifetime!"

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@fwentz

I loved your comment "I just keep reminding myself of how grateful I am …." My wife is in the late stage of Alzheimer's Disease and I love her more than ever just the way she is. I put a note on her mirror "How great is God's goodness to have given you to me to love for a lifetime!"

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This is lovely.

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@fwentz

I loved your comment "I just keep reminding myself of how grateful I am …." My wife is in the late stage of Alzheimer's Disease and I love her more than ever just the way she is. I put a note on her mirror "How great is God's goodness to have given you to me to love for a lifetime!"

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"How great is God's goodness…on her mirror! What a sweet thought….I am going to "mirror" you and do the same thing! As an added thought, my mom had the following saying engraved inside my dad's wedding band: "I love you twice as much today as I did yesterday and only 1/2 as much as tomorrow." I never knew how that was written on the inside of his band but a true jeweler must have been quite skilled. She always put "2x- 1/2" on anything she ever wrote to him. She died 2 years ago and dad (age 94) still wears the ring that has only been taken off for surgeries. (Please forgive this melancholic moment -but all of us need these little tidbits to remind us of how fortunate we are even on the difficult days. )

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@teacher502

My husband has been through the neuro-psyche testing at least three times. He dreads it for days before it actually happens. I try to help him with the anxiety and try to provide some coping skills (this is not a test to enter college- just enjoy the time you are with the testers, etc ). He did tell them he would like to skip the math portion from now on and that was fine with them and with me. As his caregiver and as a former teacher, the testing is very beneficial to me. It does help with getting a handle on the progression of the disease and takes away some guesswork of the pace of decline. It helps to find things he can do well as it identifies areas of strength and helps me to capitalize on them. It also provides ideas of how to help him cope as some skills become weaker….and it helps me to try to be more patient and compassionate…some days are easier than others. I just keep reminding myself of how grateful I am to have had the once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of this amazing man's life. He has taken very good care of our family, and I treasure this time to be his help mate through this part of our journey.

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Hello @teacher502 and @larryh123, my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease about two years ago, after an MRI and a day of neuropsychological testing. It was gruelling for him, but useful at the time, as it confirmed the diagnosis, which I wanted to deny. His disease is progressing slowly and his memory comes and goes. Yesterday he knew who the people I was talking about were, whereas he did not know who they were the day before. He stopped driving without a fight and has stepped down from managing our finances. In our current situation, I don't think more neuropsychological testing would be beneficial. It would involve a flight to another island, take two days, and upset him. He does have a low tolerance for doing difficult things and changes in routine upset him. He still functions well around the house, helps me with chores when I ask, and overall, has a pleasant disposition.

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