UK HealthCast: Dr. Timothy Ainger on when you should see a neuropsychologist
UK HealthCast is a podcast series featuring interviews with UK HealthCare experts on a variety of health-related topics, from how to recognize stroke symptoms to what patients need to know about clinical trials – and more.
We recently spoke to Dr. Timothy Ainger, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, about his field of medicine and how to keep your brain health in tip-top shape.
What is neuropsychology and why would someone need to see a neuropsychologist?
Neuropsychology is a specialty field of clinical psychology, and it looks at how the brain works with the rest of the body.
One of the things that I like to explain to people who ask why they need a neuropsychological evaluation is that we are evaluating the part of your body that literally controls the rest of your body. Neuropsychologists would be very useful for someone who believes that they are experiencing changes in their thinking skills, which we broadly define as cognition. A neuropsychologist would also be a great referral for someone who has experienced some sort of injury or diagnosis of the central nervous system or brain.
Does a neuropsychologist address memory loss?
Once we realize we're not 19 years old anymore, every part of our body starts to change and behave differently. We get creaks in our knees, and we don't wake up as easily in the morning.
Some of these are just normal concerns for aging. Once things become bothersome, noteworthy, problematic or generally outside of the normal expectations, then it would be time to initiate an evaluation and really see what's going on.
Can you share some tips on how to best nurture brain health?
Because of the reciprocal relationship that the brain has with the rest of the body, so many of the health recommendations that you hear from other providers for physical well-being have mental well-being and neurocognitive well-being implications as well – things like getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting appropriate sleep.
Challenging your brain, doing puzzles and games, reading, and always trying to learn new information – all of that is great for your mind.
Any physical health recommendations go hand-in-hand with mental health recommendations, too.
Listen to the full podcast with Dr. Ainger: