Neuropsychology is the study of the brainís structure and function as it relates to psychology. For instance, a neuropsychologist might study lesions or electrical activity from higher primates or humans in order to understand what one part of the brainís anatomy does. One of the most important subtypes of neuropsychology is neuropsychological rehabilitation.
Essentially, neuropsychological rehabilitation is the training of neural pathways, after a traumatic brain injury or illness, in order to regain full cognitive function or at least improve the brainís day-to-day functioning. Neuropsychological rehabilitation may teach an old neural pathway how to do some new function, or it may create a new neural pathway. Concussion and spinal cord injury are particularly amenable to neuropsychological rehabilitation, and neuropsychological rehabilitation is often recommended in those cases.
Neuropsychological rehabilitation overlaps with several other disciplines, such as speech or occupational therapy. Most neuropsychological rehabilitation specialists begin by studying the patient and deciding what, specifically, needs to be improved. If a patientís brain injury has lead to the loss of certain motor skills and frontal lobe executive functions, the specialist may recommend hand-eye coordination and structured planning or organizing exercises.
Traumatic brain injuries are often time-consuming and difficult to rehabilitate; many patients may see only marginal improvement. However, neuropsychological rehabilitation is a growing field and much work is being done within it. Nerve regeneration techniques are being developed for people with serious cases of brain injury. In addition, researchers are busy working out which rehabilitation techniques are the most effective for treatment of concussion, ADHD and a wide variety of other illnesses.
In addition, neuropsychological testing is an important aspect of evaluating a brain injury patient, even without neuropsychological rehabilitation. A neuropsychologist may be capable of telling whether a patient is ready to drive a car, work in gainful employment or make their own decisions. Although it requires the cooperation of the patient, and therefore is less than useful for patients who are in a coma, unable to speak or uncooperative, neuropsychological testing can provide a valuable insight into the brain function of a patient. Tests may determine if the patient is responsive, able to react to their environment and other stimuli and capable of following directions; for children with brain injuries, neuropsychological testing is vital, because it allows specialists to track their brain development at various ages.
Neuropsychological rehabilitation is an important part of many teams treating a patient for brain injury. It is important to consider any method that might lead to an improvement of a patient. The Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation, or FINR, is one of the worldís leaders in neuropsychological rehabilitation, with many physicians experienced in neuropsychological testing, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation and programs specialized for both children and adults.
|About Author Bridget A. Shore :|
The Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation, Inc. (FINR) has developed a comprehensive brain injury continuum of care offering specialized inpatient evaluation and treatment for both children and adults. ##lt
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Article Added on Saturday, February 25, 2012
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