Patient Care

First, what is a neuropsychologist?

Neuropsychologists are not medical doctors, but doctors of clinical psychology who examine the brain and its functions. Neuropsychological testing is designed to determine the brain's ability with respect to attention, concentration, short and long term memory, language, abstract reasoning, executive functioning, motor skills and other cognitive and psychological factors. In addition to making and clarifying a diagnosis, neuropsychologists provide patient-oriented recommendations based on the results of the testing. For example, if there are functional memory problems, the neuropsychologist can help to develop strategies for use in the home to help with medication management and other activities of daily living.

Before seeing the Neuropsychologist
Prior to your visit, you should obtain all relevant medical record information about the problem you have. A questionnaire may be provided before or at the time of the office visit. This is in an effort to obtain all information that might relate to your problem. Please give the answers careful thought and complete the questionnaire fully. If you are on medication, please bring the medication bottles to the visit.

The Office Visit
The office visit will generally require about one to two hours, depending on the complexity of your problem (but only a portion of this time will be spent completing cognitive testing). Based on the questionnaire, the nursing staff will obtain initial information about your reason for the visit, medications, past history and family history. Routine vital signs may be completed. These will be used as the starting point for review of your current problem. Please feel free to mention any item in your history, even if it seems irrelevant to your current problem. It is important that we know as much as possible about you and your other medical problems.

You will then meet with the Dr. Ally and someone from his team to complete paper and pencil cognitive testing. In the Neurology-based Memory Disorders Clinic, the cognitive testing battery is designed to minimize frustration and fatigue, typically taking only 50-75 minutes (rather than the standard 4-8 hours in other settings or psychiatric clinics).

If you are also scheduled to meet with a Neurologist, a brief neurological examination will be performed by a specialist in cognitive and behavioral neurology. This is a painless procedure that evaluates all areas of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. The exam will probably include items unfamiliar to you from seeing other medical doctors. The exam involves more depth and detail than a standard physical exam and will take about 15 minutes.

The results of the evaluation are summarized by the neurologist and neuropsychologist, and plans for further evaluation will be discussed. Additional tests, including CT scans, MRI scans, and blood tests may be required to clarify the diagnosis. Please feel free to ask questions, but realize that the diagnosis may not be apparent after the first visit. A follow-up visil will usually be scheduled to review any outstanding test results and to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and/or medication.

If you have an emergency, please call 911 or go to the emergency room nearest you.

If you feel that you would like to see Dr. Ally for a clinical evaluation of your memory problems, please contact the neurology scheduling number listed below and state that you would like to be scheduled with Drs. Ally and Kirsnher in the Neurology Memory Loss Clinic.

Dr. Ally is dedicated to training future neuropsychologists. Residents and fellows in training are exposed to various clinical situations and work with Dr. Ally, who has years of clinical experience. If you are not comfortable working with a neuropsychologist in training, please voice your concerns to Dr. Ally at the time of the appointment.

Dr. Ally is engaged in research to advance and improve the future care of patients with memory problems. If you elect to participate in research, this will in NO way affect your clinical care. Everything related to research become highly confidential, and no one except Dr. Ally and his team will know your status. Data collected for research purposes is NOT related to the clinical setting, and may be published in the medical literature without identification.

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To make an appointment, contact the neurology clinic:
(615) 936-0060

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