Memory and Cognitive Impairment Testing in NYC

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What Is Cognitive Impairment?

Cognitive impairment is the inability to sufficiently remember past events or people, make sound decisions, concentrate, or learn new things. This can be caused by injury, age, illness, or a variety of other reasons. It ranges from mild to severe. 

A cognitive impairment diagnosis is often accompanied by grief about one’s loss of independence and should be handled with care and empathy. Any person may deal with cognitive impairment in their lifetime.

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Levels of Cognitive Impairment

The levels of cognitive impairment are judged by several factors, including the lifetime risk, age of onset, and the number of years lived with impairment. There are three levels of cognitive impairment, which tend to progress in severity:

Mild cognitive impairment

In this level of cognitive impairment, symptoms are at a heightened severity for age but are not prevalent enough to impact the ability to live independently.

Moderate cognitive impairment

Symptoms of moderate cognitive impairment are significantly noticeable, and intervention may be needed for the person to function.

Severe cognitive impairment

A person with severe cognitive impairment is unable to live independently or make sound decisions for themselves. Only a small percentage of individuals with cognitive impairment are classified as severe, but the risk increases with age.

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Cognitive Impairment Symptoms

Cognitive impairment symptoms may include:

  • Memory loss: Loss of memory is one of the primary symptoms of cognitive impairment, leading to confusion.
  • Mood and behavioral changes: The hippocampus which controls learning and memory impacts emotional reactions. This can change the behavior of an affected individual.
  • Difficulty with daily tasks: Memory loss can result in not remembering how to do things, which can make everyday tasks hard to complete.
  • Loss of train of thought: Those who have cognitive impairment may start a sentence without finishing it, or get up and forget what they had intended to do.
  • Irritability: A person who is struggling with cognitive impairment can become easily frustrated with their loss of memory and exhausted from how hard they have to work to remember things or stay focused. This results in heightened irritation.
  • Poor judgment and decision-making: Cognitive impairment alters judgment and can impact the ability to make rational decisions.

Benefits of Cognitive Impairment Testing

A psychological evaluation is important for cognitive impairment so that an individual and their family can be armed with proper knowledge of their condition. If cognitive impairment is expected to progress in severity, preparation and planning are essential.

Accurate Diagnosis

The symptoms of cognitive impairment may be confused and misdiagnosed with that of another disorder. The irritability and mood changes, for instance, could be misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder. Accurate diagnosis is vital so that clients are not given the wrong treatment or medications that may worsen their condition.

Support and Guidance

Once a patient is aware that they are experiencing cognitive impairment, they can seek support, whether emotional support from family or physical assistance with daily tasks. Cognitive impairment can be a condition that is difficult to deal with, so leaning on loved ones is an important way to cope.

How Cognitive Impairment Diagnosis Works

Consult with BHNY

Contact our therapists at Behavioral Health of New York, and we can talk about a cognitive impairment assessment and see if the symptoms you or a loved one are experiencing require an evaluation. 

Set an Appointment

If one of our psychologists concludes that a neuropsychological evaluation for cognitive impairment is needed, an appointment can be scheduled in accordance with the client’s convenience.

Complete a Neuropsychological Evaluation

Using a variety of diagnostic tools, our psychologist will conduct a neuropsychological evaluation, and come to a conclusion about the client’s diagnosis. The psychologist will reach out to the client with the results of their evaluation in a comprehensive report.

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Cognitive Impairment Affects People of All Ages

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Cognitive Impairment Testing for Adults

In a cognitive impairment assessment for adults, age is typically a considerable factor in diagnosis. Cognitive impairment is a relative condition, and older individuals are more likely to experience cognitive decline. The MoCA test is ideal for detecting serious cognitive symptoms.

Cognitive Impairment Testing for Adolescents

Cognitive impairment testing for children and teens may involve different tests such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and the Wide Range Achievement Test. Questions related to health and medical history will be asked of the client or the client’s guardian. 

Conditions Related to Cognitive Impairment

Common conditions that lead to or are related to cognitive impairment include:

  • Dementia: Dementia is a form of rather severe cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment can progress to dementia, and nearly a third of cases are likely to progress within five years.
  • Alzheimer’s: Alzheimer’s is a disease mainly associated with short and long-term memory loss. Changes in the cerebral cortex and limbic system result in difficulties with spatial awareness, memory, language, and learning abilities. This is a form of cognitive impairment. 
  • Mild TBI: A mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion can impact a person’s memory and cognition.
  • Stroke: Cognitive impairment and memory loss are common after a stroke, though in many cases, the condition is temporary and recovery is possible.
  • COVID-19: COVID memory loss is a serious issue. Although uncommon in most cases, it is a byproduct often referred to as “long COVID” in which those who’ve contracted COVID-19 experience significant cognitive deficits.

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Get Cognitive Impairment Testing in NYC

Dealing with cognitive impairment can be difficult to navigate, and we are happy to help in any way that we can. Contact us today to receive testing for cognitive impairment and memory loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Fast Does Mild Cognitive Impairment Progress?

The progression of cognitive impairment is fairly unpredictable and may depend entirely on the individual. A study monitoring the progression of cognitive impairment to dementia found that there is an annual progression rate of 12% in the general population. Another found that approximately 7.5% of those age 65 and older will develop dementia in the first year.

How Many People Have Cognitive Impairment?

According to the American Academy of Neurology, mild cognitive impairment is present in about 8% of people age 65 to 69, and the percentage increases with age. It is predicted that 31% of United States adults born between 1955 and 1959 will experience cognitive impairment. Currently, more than 55 million people in the world struggle with dementia.

Is Cognitive Impairment Reversible?

This depends greatly on the nature of the cognitive impairment. Impairment caused by an issue such as sleep deprivation or stroke may be reversible. Cognitive impairment due to age generally does not improve.

What Is the Difference Between Long-Term Memory Loss and Short-Term Memory Loss?

An individual suffering from short-term memory loss will experience difficulty in retaining small tidbits of information and often presents as an inability to learn new information. They may have trouble recollecting recent events, like what they had for breakfast.

Long-term memory loss involves the inability to remember major details about one’s life. An individual with long-term memory loss may forget significant relationships, where they live, or where they are.

Can Depression Cause Memory Loss?

Depression is associated with short-term memory loss. This is due to physical changes in the hippocampus caused by increased cortisol. The phenomenon of memory loss due to depression is referred to as pseudodementia. Seeking treatment for depression can help to reduce symptoms of memory loss.