For some patients, it is important to assess cognitive functions such as memory, recall, alertness and overall aptitude. This is formally done via neurocognitive testing.
This type of testing can be ordered following medical illness such as stroke or other brain-based diseases such as Parkinson's Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. It is also used to characterize childhood developmental illness such as Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dementia is the decline in cognitive functioning, including most notably, memory and related cognitive processing skills.
The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's Type. Dementias are important diagnoses early on, in order to maximize treatment efficacy. Some dementias are reversible if caught early. For other types, such as Alzheimer's and vascular dementias, newer cognitive enhancing medications are available which can improve functioning and prolong quality of life.