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Psychological interventions at the National Center for Rare Vascular diseases of the Brain and/or retina CERVCO


We are a group of psychologists currently working at CERVCO. Our interventions are very wide and include psychological support and interventions in any of the different steps in rare and genetic neurovascular diseases care, not only for patients but also for families. We also carry out neuropsychological evaluations to guide patients’ care, or for research purposes.

As clinical psychologists, our interventions are crucial around the diagnosis process, but also during all the disease follow-up. We assure psychological support for patients and families during the stressful diagnosis phase preceding the announcement, and at the moment of the announcement. This period can be long and induce huge psychological distress. During follow-up, we assure psychological therapeutic interventions when needed, or we make sure that patients are followed up by specialized therapists or therapists near their homes.

For example, in Moya-moya disease, in addition to the stressful diagnosis period, the time around neurosurgery interventions is particularly threatening. The exams or the intervention can be hard to handle, and patients are often overwhelmed with anxious anticipation and fear about a possible disability. We are trying to implement a procedure to support them in this process in order to limit all psychological distress and prevent possible psychological disorders.

In CADASIL and Col4A1, we participate in genetic counselling presymptomatic multidisciplinary consultations for people at risk to have notch3 or Col4A1 mutations, and at the moment of the announcement of the results. These multidisciplinary interventions have already shown their benefits to obtain minimal harmful consequences of genetic testing.

As clinical neuropsychologists, we now have expertise in evaluating vascular cognitive impairment in vascular leukoencephalopathy of this small vessel disease or after stroke in genetic diseases affecting large vessels. Our evaluations are targeted and allow to address a specific cognitive profile. We use different neuropsychological tests and scales to address cognitive and neuropsychiatric profiles and impairments to guide patients’ care during all the follow-up (evaluating, for example, memory, attention, executive functions, apathy, etc.). If necessary, we set up and guide the neuropsychological rehabilitation working with neuropsychologists outside the hospital.

            We also provide expertise on these diseases to colleagues taking care of these patients.