Part 3: Neuropsychological Evaluation in Clinical Practice: Overview and Approach

Lynn W. Shaughnessy, MA, Maureen K. O’Connor, PsyD, ABCN, and Janet C. Sherman, PhD

Ms. Shaughnessy is a student, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, West Roxbury, MA. Dr. O’Connor is an instructor, Department of Neurosurgery, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, and Director of Neuropsychology, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Bedford, MA. Dr. Sherman is an assistant professor, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, and clinical director, Psychology Assessment Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.

Question 1

A neuropsychological evaluation can help in distinguishing depression from dementia using measures designed to assess memory. Memory impairments in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) differ from those observed in depression in which of the following ways?

  •  Scores on memory measures fall in the impaired range for
    patients with AD but not in patients with depression
  •  Patients with depression will not perform below expectations on
    memory measures and will perform below expectations only on
    measures of attention
  •  Patients with probable AD will display prominent impairments on
    memory measures that require retention and storage of information,
    while those with depression will display the greatest difficulties
    with the encoding and retrieval processes
  •  Patients with depression will show primary impairments in
    language and visuospatial functioning

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