Role of Neuropsychology in Hypothalamic Hamartoma Treatment
At Barrow Neurological Institute, an interdisciplinary team integrates quite diverse information about a patient to help advise the patient and family about how they might best be helped. Consequently, the neurosurgeon must understand a patient's level of cognitive function before surgical intervention for a hypothalamic hamartoma. Individuals with this diagnosis can have a wide variety of cognitive and behavioral difficulties. Consequently, depending on the patient's needs, different types of tests might need to be administered.
These tests provide an objective assessment of a patient's neuropsychological status before and after surgery. Tests administered typically include the BNI Screen for Higher Cerebral Functioning, the Trail Making Test-Parts A and B, portions of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale or portions of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (depending on the patient's age), and various tests of memory function.
The patient's family completes questionnaires concerning an individual’s level of competence in day-to-day life, and describes the patient's personality or behavioral characteristics. Adult patient's fill out a similar questionnaire.
Hypothalamic hamartomas can affect cognitive and personality function in different ways, depending on the age of an individual and how long the tumor has influenced normal neurological development. Intelligence, problem solving ability, and emotional and motivational development are often affected. By understanding a patient's neuropsychological status, family, teachers, and the patient can better understand adjustment problems and what options are available to improve their management.