Integrating Neuropsychology and Brain Imaging for a Referral of Possible Pseudodementia: A Case Report.
Tanner, J. J., Mellott, E., Dunne, E. M., Price, C. C.
The study aimed to highlight the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and the value for combining normative neuropsychological and neuroradiological measures for clinical purposes. We present the case of “CL,” a 65-year-old, right-handed, Caucasian female referred for a neuropsychological evaluation of memory difficulties and depression with the rule-out of pseudodementia. A brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan was conducted within 24 hours of the neuropsychology exam. Mood measures showed elevated depression and apathy symptoms. The neuropsychological profile showed variable effort, intact comprehension but compromised confrontation naming and verbal memory deficits. Using normative references from 20 female age- and education-matched healthy control peers, CL showed significantly reduced temporal cortex thickness with reduced bilateral hippocampal, right amygdala, and right caudate volumes. Combined data were supportive of a diagnosis of semantic dementia. Examining neuropsychological profiles in combination with neuroimaging standardized metrics relative to peers improved case conceptualization. Standard measures of effort and malingering examined alone and without MRI for the diagnosis of pseudodementia have questionable validity and rationale. We additionally discuss the advantages and limitations/challenges for integrating neuropsychological assessments with normative based MRI brain metrics.