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Who is a neuropsychologist

The doctor of this direction is one of the most demanded specialists in rehabilitation. Julia Zueva talks about the peculiarities of the profession and how to restructure the work of the brain.

What does a neuropsychologist do?

A neuropsychologist is a clinical psychologist. The prefix "neuro-" means that the patients he works with have impaired brain function. Both in working with patients after a traumatic brain injury and with patients without trauma who complain of a bad mood, the neuropsychologist will look for brain disorders. First, he finds out the patient's condition: what skill was lost, how adequately the person perceives what happened to him.

One of the main methods of neuropsychology is syndromic analysis. When it becomes clear exactly where the problem is, you can begin rehabilitation - building a system of external and internal supports that partially replace the impaired brain functions. For example, a patient after an aneurysm rupture with impaired short-term memory does not retain information for more than five to ten minutes. A neuropsychologist implements a system of external reminders. In a conspicuous place, the patient has a diary with information about himself: who I am, what happened to me, who my closest relatives are. Through applications, reminders from my wife come to the phone: to have lunch, drink medicine.

Or another case. Patient after a stroke. Very depressed, speech ceased to obey her, and, except for a speech embolus (repetition of the same word), she can not utter anything. Neuropsychologists develop a special picture book for her so that the patient can show what she wants. The level of anxiety is reduced, communication is being established. Memory and speech were not restored in both cases, but people's functional independence and quality of life improved.

How does syndromic analysis work?

Neuropsychological diagnosis can be compared to an investigation. For example, a person complains that he is having difficulty with counting. The first, second and third blocks of the brain can be responsible for violation of the account. The search begins. We offer the patient a task: subtract 7 from 100, and then subtract 7 again. If a person immediately gets tired quickly, turns off already in the first part of the arithmetic operation, then the reason in the first block is in the subcortical structures.

The second, operational, block is responsible, among other things, for spatial disturbances. The patient got 93 by subtracting 7 from 100. Next, subtract 7 from 93 again. Usually they think like this: 93 minus 3 is 90, 90 minus 4 is 86, that is, we break 7 into 3 and 4. The problem arises when the patient received these two digits, 3 and 4, and got confused which one should be subtracted further and from what. So, violations in the second block. If, having received 93, the patient began to confidently subtract not 7, but 3, because he switched his attention to the number 93, that is, he lost the program of action, then we are dealing with a weakness in regulation and the reason is in the prefrontal cortex - in the third block.


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