By Dr. Lauren Strober
For many individuals, medical testing, especially testing for cognitive changes, may cause fear or anxiety.
How scary of a process is it? For some, undergoing cognitive testing when one has already noticed a decline is very intimidating – many fear that noticing a change is not as scary as confirming there is an actual change. But, like anything, knowledge is best and with MS, knowledge is the best way to tackle a variable, unpredictable disease. Moreover, more often than not, individuals find that they are doing better than they think and that although there are some weaknesses, they also still have their strengths. Again, knowledge is power.
As far as the process itself, a full neuropsychological evaluation can last anywhere from three to five hours and is typically divided over a few days. Cognitive testing can be extremely tiring and that is not just specific to MS. Many patients report needing a nap after! But, most neuropsychologists are aware of this and will offer breaks and other accommodations to make the experience as painless as possible. After the evaluation is completed, you will receive written and verbal feedback as to how you did and what the recommendations are based on your individual cognitive profile. Such feedback and knowledge of one’s abilities and difficulties can be very empowering and assist individuals with taking the right steps in assuring that they can tackle their MS and its symptoms head on!
If you feel that you can benefit from cognitive testing and/or are noticing changes in your thinking, do reach out to your neurologist or a neuropsychologist in your area today.
*Dr. Lauren Strober is a board-eligible clinical neuropsychologist with over a decade of clinical and research experience in MS. She is a Research Scientist at the Kessler Foundation and presently holds a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant examining the factors most associated with employment status in MS.