What To Know About Brain Performance Tests

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A brain performance test, or cognitive test, measures your brain's ability to function. A series of simple questions can reveal cognitive problems that may need more testing in greater depth. Read on to learn more about this important test.

Brain Performance Tests Focus on Various Cognitive Skills

Cognitive skills are those that help you process information from your five senses. Your brain is the cognitive center. A brain performance test focuses on various cognitive skills to test how well you use and understand language, pay attention to input, remember things, make decisions, think and learn, utilize judgment, and use reason. How well you can and cannot use these cognitive skills during a test can be a good reflection of your brain's health.

Brain Performance Tests May Prompt Additional Tests

A brain performance test cannot reveal every aspect of the health of your brain, but it is a great way for your doctor to know which additional tests may be necessary. Cognitive tests don't show where in the brain there may be a cognitive impairment, or why one exists. This test cannot reveal a condition that leads to cognitive impairment, or how severe that impairment may be. The score you receive based on how you answer simple questions and perform basic tasks will tell your doctor whether you need further assessments. Your doctor may want you to undergo a more thorough cognitive test, like a neuropsychological assessment. Additionally, they may want you to undergo one or more scans, like a computed tomography (CT) scan, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, or a positron-emission tomography (PET) scan.

Brain Performance Tests Reveal Cognitive Changes Due to Certain Medical Conditions

Your doctor may perform a brain performance test in order to establish a cognitive baseline when you have certain medical conditions. Some conditions are treatable and any cognitive decline may be reversible. You may experience some cognitive loss due to:

Other conditions cause cognitive decline that is more difficult or impossible to reverse. Your doctor will want to be aware of how much cognitive decline occurs from the original baseline and administer multiple tests as part of your treatment for strokes, multiple sclerosis (MS), brain tumors, seizures, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, long-term drug use.

Remember, brain performance tests are fast, simple, and you do not need to prepare in any special way. Ask your doctor for more information about how a brain performance test may be right for you.