A new assessment has been developed to assist individuals who have sustained trauma to the brain, including individuals combating progressive conditions such as dementia. Dr Gerald Burgess, School of Psychology, at the UK-based University of Leicester, developed the test, which is known as the Short Parallel Assessments of Neuropsychological Status (SPANS).

Burgess discusses the technology in this video

SPANS is built to engage with patients who have sustained a variety of brain injuries in an effort to assist in their recovery and measures the cognitive skills of individuals in a user-friendly and concise way. A university news release notes that the assessment takes patients an estimated 35 minutes to complete.

The release also reports that the assessment is capable of measuring a total of seven key cognitive skills. These include orientation, attention and concentration, language, memory and learning, visuo-motor performance, efficiency, and conceptual flexibility.

An alternative version, SPANS B, is also available that complements SPANS A for retesting of patients. Both versions were developed, the release says, based upon real neurological syndromes, such as aphasia, and common referral questions informed by Brugess’ experience as a clinical psychologist in brain injury wards.

According to Brugess, with SPANS “clinicians now have a broader and more reliable assessment that is even more useful than most tests for tracking changes in cognitive skills over time. Patients are now more thoroughly assessed by a test that is less taxing on them than some other tests, so that their difficulties may be better understood.”

The test can be administered by a variety of healthcare professionals, including speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, clinical or research psychologists, psychiatrists and neurologists.

The release adds that during SPANS’ development, Burgess worked with Hogrefe, the publisher who helped collect data and develop SPANS to a professional standard through production and marketing efforts.

Roley Davis, Sales and Marketing manager, Hogrefe, adds “We are proud to have worked with Dr. Burgess to bring this new assessment to the market.  SPANS is a comprehensive and flexible test that will address the various needs of clinicians and researchers alike.  Hogrefe’s mission is to develop robust, valid and reliable assessments that address market need, and the SPANS is an excellent addition to our clinical portfolio. We look forward to hearing from people interested to know more about the assessment.”

Visit Hogrefe’s website for more information about SPANS

Source: University of Leicester