The role of neuropsychological examination in the diagnosis and treatment of adult patients with epilepsy

Magdalena Gugała-Iwaniuk, Ksenia Sławińska

Affiliation and address for correspondence
Aktualn Neurol 2021, 21 (1), p. 24–29
DOI: 10.15557/AN.2021.0003

Individuals with epilepsy may experience various difficulties in cognitive and emotional functioning. The neuropsychological examination plays a significant role in the diagnosis and management of patients with epilepsy. It should be conducted by psychologists with appropriate competencies and experience, preferably by specialists who have undergone dedicated training in clinical psychology and gained clinical experience with neurological patients. Conclusions from neuropsychological examination provide information about the influence of epilepsy on cognitive and behavioral functioning of the patient. Neuropsychological assessment enables delineating the neuropsychological profile, including the description of the type and level of cognitive deficits, as well as examining the emotional state and psychosocial functioning of patients. Neuropsychological evaluation plays an important part in qualifying patients with epilepsy for neurosurgical treatment, and helps in the process of monitoring the state of patients in terms of postsurgical outcomes. In this paper, the authors present the aims of neuropsychological assessment in patients with epilepsy. Various factors are listed that can affect the profile of cognitive and emotional functioning of patients during the examination. On the basis of guidelines formulated by experts of the International League Against Epilepsy, the indications for neuropsychological examination are described, and the core cognitive and emotional dimensions that should be evaluated are presented. A list of psychometric tests and clinicalexperimental tasks addressing cognitive functions as well as a selection of tools assessing the emotional state that are available and used in Poland are also provided.

epilepsy, neuropsychological assessment, cognitive deficits, emotional disturbances

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