Abstract

Neuropsychology emerged as a discipline in the 1940s when prior to performing a craniotomy, neurosurgeons based their localization on EEGs, X-rays and neuropsychological test results. This practice ended in the mid 1970s when computerized tomography became available. As the neuropsychologists' role in localizing has become miniscule, the referral questions have shifted to obtaining quantitative descriptions of the patient's cognitive status. The current paper explores future directions for neuropsychology on the basis of asking the following question: Are we meeting the needs of the patients? The answer is clear: Patients' needs are not met by merely diagnosing cognitive deficits. There is a growing need to advance services that maintain cognitive health, since modern societies place increasing value on highly educated and skilled work forces. Thus, the time has come for neuropsychologists to identify as caretakers for cognitive health. Just as we expect from the disciplines responsible for physical and emotional health, we must provide a combination of diagnostic and treatment services for cognitive health.

Author notes

This article summarizes the presidential address held in San Francisco, 2001.