Neuropsychologists contribute to comprehensive approach
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, OR MS, is a disease of the central nervous system in which lesions—damaged tissue— can occur at multiple sites.
University of Kentucky HealthCare’s designation as a National MS Society Partner-In-Care and as a certified National MS Society Comprehensive Care Center requires various subspecialties to work together to help patients understand their condition, identify effective strategies for maximizing treatment, and work toward long-term health management.
The role of a neuropsychologist, at its core, is to evaluate what is called “the brain-behavior relationship”—the way the operations of the brain manifest as our thoughts, personality and all other reflections of the mind.
While some providers on the MS team are responsible for therapy and movement assistance, adjusting medications, or even monitoring vision changes, the neuropsychologist is responsible for recognizing, diagnosing and monitoring changes in how the brain works.
Neuropsychologists can help people with MS better understand how their disease profile can impact their mental and emotional well-being, as well as how it can impact their day-to-day life. It is the neuropsychologist’s responsibility to assess patients for all cognitive and emotional concerns they may experience, and pinpoint how they relate to their MS.
Our goal for all MS patients is to minimize the frequency and severity of relapses, manage symptom presentation and maximize long-term health with the cooperation of both our providers and our patients.
We make sure our health care providers collaborate to provide optimal care and ensure that our patients feel empowered to take an active role in managing both their disease and their symptoms.
TIMOTHY AINGER, Ph.D., is assistant professor of neurology with the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute.