What is cognitive testing?

Cognitive tests or assessments are lists of questions and small tasks designed to test your cognition. Cognition is your ability to process information in almost any of the brain’s normal functions. These functions include your thinking, memory, learning ability, judgment, and language ability. When there is a problem with your cognition, it’s called cognitive impairment. These cognitive impairments can range from mild to severe.

While testing for cognitive impairment can’t show your practitioner the exact cause of the impairment, it will help them find out if you need further testing. Some of the more common causes of cognitive impairment include side effects of medication, blood disorders, blood vessel disorders, dementia, and depression. Cognitive testing can be used to measure if your conditions are getting worse or better over time.

The most common cognitive tests are:

  • Montreal Cognitive Assessment
  • Mini-Mental State Exam
  • Mini-Cog

What is cognitive testing used for?

Cognitive tests or assessments are used to help practitioners screen for mild cognitive impairment. Patients who may be suffering from cognitive impairments may see changes in thought ability, memory function, and even speech. When a patient has mild cognitive impairment, they may notice these changes, but the changes are not severe enough to interrupt their normal daily activities. Cognitive testing also allows medical providers to measure your cognitive function over time by comparing your previous results to future tests.

How does it work?

Cognitive tests have been in use for over a hundred years. Beginning as paper and pencil tests, the questions have been developed over time to help providers test cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and decision making. Today, the majority of tests are provided on computers to create a more accurate assessments and results.

Cognitive tests include questions that have been created to explore your basic cognitive functions. Each test involves answering questions or performing small tasks. These questions may include questions about your basic information to test your memory, such as where you are from, your family members’ names, the year or season. Other tasks may test your attention span with questions to determine how easily you become distracted.

Each of the questions in the assessment contribute to the bigger picture. Your practitioner will use these results to help assess and diagnose any possible mental conditions or cognitive impairments. These evaluations are important for catching illnesses early and can help treat or prevent more severe medical conditions. Because cognitive impairment can be caused by multiple medical conditions, blood disorders, or depression, your practitioner may order further tests after your cognitive assessment.

Throughout your time with our team, always feel free to ask questions, voice your concerns, and be sure to let us know about any other neurological or chiropractic treatment you may be receiving. At Spine & Sports Wellness Clinic, we are committed to providing best-in-class patient care and brain injury treatment for every patient by striving to always put our patients’ needs first. For more information on cognitive testing or to schedule an appointment or give us a call at (806) 356-7291.