Clinical neuropsychology is an important field in the management of brain disorders. The recent increase in the number of people who have been diagnosed with brain injuries and disorders has necessitated the need for specialised knowledge which seeks to detect and treat these disorders. Neuropsychology helps in achieving this objective and it involves the study of assessing and treating patients who have neurocognitive deficits or brain injury.
Neuropsychologists study the various models of behavioural relationships in order to find out if a person’s neurobehavioural functions have altered the normal brain activity to such a degree which causes impairment of the brain. They use various methods and tools to detect cerebral palsy and other brain abnormalities and disorders, and these methods will be discussed below. Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy on the other hand belongs to a group of non-contagious and non-progressive conditions which cause physical disabilities in the development of human beings.
It is a disorder which affects the cerebrum or other parts of the brain which leads to the inhibition of the motor control center of the brain. It can occur during childbirth, pregnancy, or after birth. It does not currently have a cure and the treatment involves control of complications which arise from the disorder. There are three main classifications of this disorder and they are spastic, ataxic and dyskinetic or athetoid. The most common form of cerebral palsy is the spaspic cerebral palsy and occurs in almost 80% of the cases.
The people who have this type of disorder have a neuromuscular condition and are hypertonic. Ataxic cerebral palsy is on the other hand caused by cerebellum damage and is one of the rare types of cerebral palsy since it occurs in almost 10% of all cases. Finally, dyskinetic or athetoid cerebral palsy affects the muscle tone and may lead to involuntary motions. Neuropsychological and clinical neuropsychological methods. Neuropsychological and clinical neuropsychological methods have played a major role in the detection and treatment of cerebral palsy and they are analysed below;
Neuropsychological tests. These are tests which are designed to help detect the presence of cerebral palsy on an individual. They are specific tasks which are developed for individuals and the task performance is matched to neurocognitive processes (Feinberg and Farah, 2003). The tests are usually standardised and have been tested on groups previously, before being tested on individuals. Normative data is usually obtained after administering these tests, and it undergoes collection and analysis before being compared against individual performance.
After this comparison, it is possible to tell whether the person has a brain inhibition or if he or she has normal neurocognitive processes. If found to have abnormal neurocognitive processes, these can be compared with those of patients with cerebral palsy in order to make a diagnosis. An example of such a test is the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and the Wechsler Adult Memory Scale. Electrophysiological measure. The electrophysiological measure is a method used to detect the presence of cerebral palsy or other brain disorders by use of a magnetic or electrical field which the nervous system produces (Whitworth et.
al. , 2005). It involves the use of electrodes to measure changes in electric current or voltage in biological tissues and cells. This method helps the electrophysiologists to analyse the electric current or voltage flow in biological tissues and cells of people, and comparing them with the results of known cases of cerebral palsy with a view to determining if the person has the disorder or not. An example of the use of the magnetic field is the magneto-encephalography, while an example of the use of the electric field is the use of the electroencephalography. Computer controlled designed experimental tasks
Another method which is usually used in the detection of cerebral palsy is the use of computer controlled designed experimental tasks. This is an effective way of detecting cerebral palsy, since the computer is used to measure the accuracy and reaction time of tasks, which are linked to specific neurocognitive processes (Cicchetti and Rourke, 2004). The results which are obtained from the use of this method are analysed and compared to those of normal people and those who are suffering from cerebral palsy, with an aim of detecting the presence of cerebral palsy.
The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery is an example of such a test used when using this method. Stereotactic surgery Stereotactic surgery is another method which can be used to detect cerebral palsy (Halligan et. al. , 2003). It involves minimal surgery which uses three dimensional coordinates to analyse the brain and other sensitive or minute parts or organs. It requires the setting up of reliable reference frame and this has limited its use in brain analysis or surgery.
However, it is still useful in analysing the function and structure of the brain, with a view to detecting any impairments or injuries to the organ. A reference frame is used to compare the structure which is being analysed and this makes it possible to detect any abnormalities in the brain structure. This is useful in diagnosing cerebral palsy or other brain disorders and injuries (Strauss et. al. , 2006). Brain scan. Finally, brain scans are also useful means of detecting cerebral palsy and other brain disorders through investigating the function and structure of the brain.
It is a useful means of detecting any abnormalities in the brain structure through using high resolution pictures to examine the brain. Brain injuries can be detected through the use of this method, and it involves examination of different brain areas and their relative activations. Examples of technology used in brain scans is the Positron Emission Tomography, Computed Axial Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Conclusion. Cerebral palsy is a relatively common disorder which affects the normal functioning of the brain.
It affects the motor skills of people who are suffering from the disorder. It is important to detect this disorder early so that corrective action may be undertaken and effects arising from it are dealt with early enough. This is essential for a patient to have good quality in life since the disorder is not curable. Neuropsychological and clinical neuropsychological methods help in achieving this objective through the various methods and tools they provide to detect the disorder. These methods provide patients who are diagnosed with the disorder with an opportunity to corroborate the diagnosis using different approaches.
This helps them to make the necessary changes in their physical environments and acquire access to psychological help which helps them positively live with the disorder and enjoy relatively good quality of life. References. Cicchetti, D. V. , Rourke, B. P. (2004). Methodological and Biostatistical Foundations of Clinical Neuropsychology and Medical and Health Disciplines. UK: Taylor & Francis. Feinberg, T. E. , Farah, M. J. (2003). Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology. New York: McGraw-Hill. Halligan, P. W., Kischka, U, & Marshall, J. C. (2003) Handbook of Clinical Neuropsychology.
London: Oxford University Press. Lezak, M. D. (2004). Neuropsychological Assessment. London: Oxford University Press. Strauss, E. , Sherman, E. M. , Spreen, O. (2006). A Compendium of Neuropsychological Tests: Administration, Norms, and Commentary. London: Oxford University Press. Whitworth, A. , Webster, J. , Howard, D. (2005). A Cognitive Neuropsychological Approach to Assessment and Intervention in Aphasia: A Clinician’s Guide. London: Psychology Press.