An Inside Look Into Cognitive Tests

What is a cognitive assessment? - Maple

Cognitive tests can help your doctor determine if you have issues with cognition (cognitive impairment). These tests do not diagnose cognitive problems, but they help your psychiatrist Atlanta determine if there are cognitive issues you need to address or more tests that need to be done. Anyone, regardless of age, can receive cognitive testing, but older people will routinely receive these tests since they are more likely to develop conditions that cause cognitive impairments.

You might seek out cognitive testing if you forget appointments or social events, repeat questions, frequently misplace objects in your house, need to make lists, or have difficulties understanding information. If you notice such symptoms or other people tell you that you exhibit them, see your doctor; these are signature symptoms of cognitive impairment.

What do poor and good scores mean in a cognitive test?

Usually, poor or low scores offer more insight than good or high scores. A low score means some brain impairment, either with memory or other mental function. On the other hand, a high score does not guarantee that you have no brain impairment; you could still have some brain functioning issues. If your scores are low, your healthcare provider may need to do more tests to establish the reason. Some types of cognitive impairment result from treatable medical conditions such as vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disease, or side effects of medicines. Addressing the underlying condition can improve or clear up cognition problems in such cases. However, some types of cognitive impairment have no cure, but medications and lifestyle adjustments may slow mental decline.

Do cognitive tests diagnose dementia?

There is no specific cognitive screening test used to diagnose dementia. Your healthcare provider will order more testing or refer you to a neurologist if they think you need further testing. Diagnosing certain conditions like dementia may also help patients and families prepare for future health needs.

What to expect during a cognitive test?

Different cognitive tests are available; your healthcare provider will select the most relevant one for you based on your situation. Each test involves answering a series of questions or performing easy tasks. All tests are designed to test your mental functions, such as memory, thinking processes, language, and ability to recognize things. The most common cognitive tests include Montreal cognitive assessment, mini-mental state exam, and mini-cog.

Montreal cognitive assessment is a short test lasting approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Your provider may ask you to categorize images in pictures, memorize a short list, or copy shapes. Specialists use this test to find mild cognitive impairment.

A mini-mental state exam will last between seven to ten minutes. During this test, you will name the current date, count backward, and identify objects in the room. A mini-mental test is used to find more serious issues.

The mini-cog test is the shortest and easiest to complete; the test lasts for about three minutes. It involves memorizing and recalling a short list of unrelated words and drawing a clock. You will also add all the time points and include hands to indicate a particular time.

If you have further questions about cognitive testing, consult your specialist at Psychiatric Consultants of Atlanta.

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