What Will the Results Tell Me?


Test results can be used to understand your situation in a number of ways.

Testing can identify weaknesses in specific areas. It is very sensitive to mild memory and thinking problems that might not be obvious in other ways. When problems are very mild, testing may be the only way to detect them. For example, testing can help determine whether memory changes are normal age-related changes or if they reflect a neurological disorder.
 
Testing might also be used to identify problems related to medical conditions that can affect memory and thinking, such as diabetes, metabolic or infectious diseases, or alcoholism.

Test results can also be used to help differentiate among illnesses, which is important because appropriate treatment depends on accurate diagnosis. Different illnesses result in different patterns of strengths and weaknesses on testing. Therefore, the results can be helpful in determining which areas of the brain might be involved and what illness might be operating. For instance, testing can help to differentiate among Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and depression.
 
Your physician will use this information along with the results of other tests, such as brain imaging and blood tests, to come to the most informed diagnosis possible.

Sometimes testing is used to establish a “baseline,” or document a person’s skills before there is any problem. In this way, later changes can be measured very objectively.
Test results can be used to plan treatments that use strengths to compensate for weaknesses.
 
The results help to identify what target problems to work on and which strategies to use. For example, the results can help to plan and monitor rehabilitation or to follow the recovery of skills after a stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Studies have shown how scores on specific tests relate to everyday functional skills, such as managing money, driving, or readiness to return to work. Your results will help your doctors understand what problems you may have in everyday life. This will help guide planning for assistance or treatment.