J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2018 Feb;57(1):2-11. 10.4306/jknpa.2018.57.1.2.

Neuropsychological Assessment of Dementia and Cognitive Disorders

Affiliations
  • 1Premedical Science, College of Medicine, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea. ehseo@chosun.ac.kr

Abstract

Neuropsychological assessment is concerned with the behavioral expression of brain function through a series of cognitive testing tools. These results provide the objective identification of cognitive deficits, and play a key role in the detection of dementia and related cognitive disorders. New diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and AD biomarker models suggest that cognitive declines are evidence of advanced neurodegenerative disease. Accordingly, the traditional contribution of neuropsychological assessment in early detection and diagnosis has been brought into question. In this review, the utility of neuropsychological assessment concerning dementia and cognitive disorders has been revisited. Neuropsychological assessment still plays a role in differential diagnosis as well as diagnosis. It is also useful to document cognitive changes along the dementia trajectory and to predict progression. Neuropsychological performance can estimate functional status and predict functional changes in everyday life. Identification of cognitive strengths and weaknesses can assist in intervention planning. However, the utility of neuropsychological assessment is not guaranteed if the neuropsychological tests have insufficient reliability, validity, and normative information. Commonly used cognitive screening tests and neuropsychological test batteries were examined. Lastly, several special considerations in the assessment of older adults were discussed.

Keyword

Neuropsychological assessment; Alzheimer's disease; Dementia; Mild cognitive impairment; Early detection; Biomarker
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