Indications and expectations for neuropsychological assessment in routine epilepsy care: Report of the ILAE Neuropsychology Task Force, Diagnostic Methods Commission, 2013-2017

Epilepsia. 2015 May;56(5):674-81. doi: 10.1111/epi.12962. Epub 2015 Mar 16.


The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Diagnostic Methods Commission charged the Neuropsychology Task Force with the job of developing a set of recommendations to address the following questions: (1) What is the role of a neuropsychological assessment? (2) Who should do a neuropsychological assessment? (3) When should people with epilepsy be referred for a neuropsychological assessment? and (4) What should be expected from a neuropsychological assessment? The recommendations have been broadly written for health care clinicians in established epilepsy settings as well as those setting up new services. They are based on a detailed survey of neuropsychological assessment practices across international epilepsy centers, and formal ranking of specific recommendations for advancing clinical epilepsy care generated by specialist epilepsy neuropsychologists from around the world. They also incorporate the latest research findings to establish minimum standards for training and practice, reflecting the many roles of neuropsychological assessment in the routine care of children and adults with epilepsy. The recommendations endorse routine screening of cognition, mood, and behavior in new-onset epilepsy, and describe the range of situations when more detailed, formal neuropsychological assessment is indicated. They identify a core set of cognitive and psychological domains that should be assessed to provide an objective account of an individual's cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial functioning, including factors likely contributing to deficits identified on qualitative and quantitative examination. The recommendations also endorse routine provision of feedback to patients, families, and clinicians about the implications of the assessment results, including specific clinical recommendations of what can be done to improve a patient's cognitive or psychosocial functioning and alleviate the distress of any difficulties identified. By canvassing the breadth and depth of scope of neuropsychological assessment, this report demonstrates the pivotal role played by this noninvasive and minimally resource intensive investigation in the care of people with epilepsy.

Keywords: Adult; Epilepsy; Minimum standards; Neuropsychology; Pediatric; Training.

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees* / organization & administration
  • Advisory Committees* / standards
  • Advisory Committees* / trends
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Epilepsy* / complications
  • Epilepsy* / psychology
  • Epilepsy* / therapy
  • Health Care Surveys / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Neuropsychology*
  • Reproducibility of Results