A neuropsychological evaluation may be requested as part of your care. These evaluations are another way for epilepsy physicians to understand your epilepsy. This evaluation can aid in knowing where epilepsy is occurring in the brain, determine how it is currently impacting brain function, offer important information regarding surgical risks and benefits if someone is a surgical candidate, and at times, better clarify a patient’s mood or behavioral difficulty.
These evaluations can take 3 to 6 hours and typically are very thorough. They assess each part of the brain by asking you to engage in specific activity known to be associated with that particular brain area. The tests are very sensitive to brain dysfunction (such as that caused by epilepsy). To make sure the findings are interpreted correctly, the neuropsychologist will first need to ask you about anything that may have impacted your brain throughout your life, or any other conditions currently present that may impact test results.
The tests (typically administered by a technician) are non-invasive (no needles or wires), and are essentially activities that involve questions and answers, paper and pencil, or computer tasks. If indicated, mood and behavior are also assessed in greater detail.
The neuropsychologist will review your history, test scores and results to draw conclusions and make any recommendations. The information will be shared compiled in a written report and shared with the patient, typically within a few weeks after the evaluation. The neuropsychologist will also share results with your epilepsy specialist and participate in multidisciplinary patient care as appropriate.