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Lifting the veil: how to use clinical neuropsychology to assess dementia
  1. James R Burrell1,2,3,
  2. Olivier Piguet1,2,3
  1. 1Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr James R Burrell, Neuroscience Research Australia & University of New South Wales, Barker Street, Randwick, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia; j.burrell{at}neura.edu.au

Abstract

Neurologists often struggle to interpret the results of neuropsychological testing, even though cognitive assessments are an integral component of the diagnostic process in dementia syndromes. This article reviews the principles underlying clinical neuropsychology, background on common neuropsychological tests, and tips on how to interpret the results when assessing patients with dementia. General cognitive screening tools, appropriate for use by general neurologists and psychiatrists, as well as specific cognitive tests examining the main cognitive domains (attention and orientation, memory, visuospatial function, language and executive function) in patients with dementia are considered. Finally, the pattern of deficits, helpful in defining clinical dementia phenotypes and sometimes in predicting the underlying molecular pathology, are outlined. Such clinicopathological associations will become invaluable as disease-modifying treatments for dementia are developed and implemented.

  • NEUROPSYCHOLOGY
  • DEMENTIA
  • ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
  • COGNITIVE NEUROPSYCHOLOGY
  • COGNITION

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