Cognitive Status Exams

Do you or a loved one have concerns about the onset of Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia? Did you know there are measures you can take to prevent the development of dementia? The physicians at Northwest Neurological can help inhibit memory loss, preserve cognitive function and delay disability.

The Memory Clinic at Northwest Neurological will focus on:

  • Early detection of dementia risks.
  • Reducing modifiable risk factors.
  • Treatment of conditions that contribute to cognitive decline.

Although there is no cure for dementia, early prevention can be the key to improving quality of life.

There are several dementia precursors:

Memory Loss Inability to Multitask
Behavior Change Apathy
Calculation Problems Irritability
Language Problems Disorientation
Poor Recognition Poor Planning
Social Isolation Poor Judgment
Decreased Motor Skills Loss of Initiative
Change in Personality  

By engaging the patient in a variety of cognitive assessments, we can better understand the relationship between how a patient behaves and a particular neurological condition (or more than one condition). These assessments focus on the following skills.

Memory: This assessment focuses on working with information in your head. For example: Memorizing pairs of words and/or pictures. Speed is equally as important as accuracy. We test multiple aspects for long- and short-term memory.

Attention: This assessment focuses on distraction and concentration. For example: Picking out a specific color of boxes from a line-up of multiple/random colors.

Hand/Eye Coordination: This assessment focuses on how quickly the eye will tell the hand to move. For example: A box will drop, and the goal is to catch the box before it lands on the ground.

Calculation: This assessment focuses on how quickly a person can do calculations in her or his head. For example: A number will appear on a computer screen (4), then a basic math problem will appear (3+3); the goal is to quickly determine if the answer to the basic math problem (6) is higher or lower than the number shown originally (4).

Language: This assessment focuses on language skills. For example: You will be shown a picture of a random object, and you must then choose the word from a multiple choice list that rhymes with the name of the object.

Spatial: This assessment focuses on visual spatial relations. For example: You will be shown photos and you must determine the points of view. If the photo is of a tree in a park, you would determine from what point of view (or angle) the photo is taken.

When the exam is completed, the results will be reviewed in context with the physical examination and any additional medical aspects. This comprehensive set of information provides the most accurate medical behavioral snapshot of a particular person. Once a baseline is established, we can track improvements and/or declines in a person’s status. The best care is achieved by planning; and planning is best achieved by proactivity.

We are actively seeking patients with memory problems or Parkinson’s disease to participate in our collaboration with Washington State University’s memory and aging research program. Learn more.