Rep. Patrick Kennedy Speaks at SfN Conference on Brain Health & TBI

The Society for Neuroscience is conveniently holding its annual conference here in my hometown of San Diego this week. Earlier this afternoon, US Representative Patrick Kennedy gave a very honest and personal speech on how brain illnesses have affected his family, including his father’s (Senator Ted Kennedy) death from brain cancer, his own struggles with… Read More »

Test Standards for Cognitive Screening in Health Care

(Author note: This article discusses cognitive screening for memory complaints and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) that can lead to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.) A final thought on the National Academy of Neuropsychology conference last month: health care reform and Medicare fee reductions are fundamentally changing the way cognitive testing and assessments will be… Read More »

The Early Diagnosis Problem with Alzheimer’s

Douglas Watt from Harvard Medical School provided a useful update on Alzheimer’s research at the National Academy of Neuropsychology conference earlier this month. His key points: 1. Late diagnosis of memory loss and cognitive impairment contribute to underestimation of the problem – the current estimate of 5.5 million with Alzheimer’s in the US alone is… Read More »

Brain Injury Rehabilitation Protocols

Interesting update on TBI rehabilitation methods at the National Academy of Neuropsychology conference last week. The recovery period for even a “mild” traumatic brain injury can last for several months, and more severe injuries usually require a much longer period. TBI symptoms can many times include emotional regulation problems (commonly part of PTSD), along with… Read More »

Defining Mild Cognitive Impairment

At the annual National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN) conference in Vancouver this week, Mark Bondi from UCSD & VA San Diego provided a very informative update on defining and diagnosing mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Why all the attention on MCI? Because MCI can be a portal to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The conversion… Read More »

Home Use Tests for Memory Loss, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, MCI

Several readers have asked about cognitive tests for memory loss that can be used in the home. There are several paper-based tests that can provide a “first pass” screening for memory impairment. If the test scores indicate memory problems, then it’s a good idea to follow up with your physician for more detailed testing. Computer-based… Read More »

The US Military’s Definition of Mild TBI

The Department of Defense recently released a guide for primary health care providers on treating service members with traumatic brain injury (TBI). One thing I found interesting was DoD’s definition of “mild TBI”, which includes a loss of consciousness for up to 30 minutes and post traumatic amnesia for up to 24 hours. In other… Read More »

Cognitive Testing in the Workplace

(Author note: This article refers to basic cognitive testing of workers by companies and employers. Personality tests, aptitude tests, IQ tests, integrity and other similar tests are outside the scope of this article.) The growing prevalence of computerized cognitive testing allows a wide range of employers and organizations to test large numbers of workers in… Read More »