Army mobility team visits Moody, conducts ANAM test

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Frances Locquiao
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
A U.S. Army mobility team visited Moody Nov. 5 and 6 to conduct a mass assessment test.

The computer-based Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics, or ANAM, test is a tool designed to detect speed and accuracy of attention, memory and thinking ability, which are cognitive functions.

The purpose of this test is to establish a baseline in the event that an individual becomes injured or is exposed to a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, during a deployment.

"This test is important because if an individual experiences some kind of head injury while deployed, we can pull up their test results, administer the test again and compare both of the results," said Staff Sgt. Angela Fox, 23rd Medical Group Mental Health NCO in charge. "This will help us determine if there are any changes in their cognitive functions. We are then able to pass that information to their physician for further evaluation."

Mild TBIs, commonly known as concussions, have been a special area of concern according to Air Force ANAM Implementation Guidance. It may cause changes such as slower reaction times, headaches, irritability, memory impairment and sleep difficulty.

These symptoms may result in decreased performance. Some individuals may not even be aware that they have a concussion because symptoms may not be obvious.

"The ANAM test can help detect any unnoticed symptoms," Sergeant Fox said. "That's why the test is now mandatory for all Airmen deploying within the next 12 months. If an individual deploys outside the 12-month window, another ANAM test is required."

Since it is mandatory for soon-to-be deployers, the ANAM test has been added to the predeployment checklist.

"Moody has a high deployment operations tempo, and we currently have the capabilities to test 30 Airmen per week," said Sergeant Fox. "With the Army mobility team's help, we were able to test more than 800 individuals in two days."

The Army's mobility team consisted of two individuals whose primary job is to travel around the United States to conduct the ANAM test.

"The 23rd MDG sincerely appreciates the Army's support in this endeavor, as neurocognitive assessment in the evaluation of TBI is a critical element in the overall force health protection strategy," said Col. Mark Koppen, 23rd MDG commander. "Leaders at all levels look to the medical community to take care of their Airmen and we take this responsibility very seriously.

"The ANAM test allows us to make better decisions in regard to both treatment planning and return to duty determinations," he added. "With today's advances in technology, we believe that even subtle issues can be detected, which will allow us to intervene early and prevent long term problems."

The full ANAM test system includes more than 30 tests to assess different cognitive functions and can be used to address various clinical conditions. It records an individual's performance through responses provided on a computer.

The test conducted at Moody was the 20-minute version, which has been used in multiple clinical studies including studies of concussions and TBI.

"The test wasn't what I expected--I had to really concentrate for each portion," said Airman 1st Class Maria Corona, 23rd Force Support Squadron reenlistment and extension counselor. "We had to do tasks such memorize patterns of blocks, add and subtract and click on a blinking star, which all involved quick thinking."

When an individual is finished with the quick thinking test, the mobility team sends the results to be stored in an electronic medical record, which can be accessed when needed by medical personnel.

"What affects our Airmen, affects our mission as well, so it's important that they are mentally and physically healthy," said Sergeant Fox. "The ANAM test is just one of our tools to help them

"The Army's mobility team helped us greatly by reducing our work load," said Sergeant Fox. "I want to thank them for their hard work."

The ANAM test is the current Neurocognitive Assessment Tool, or NCAT, and was developed within the Department of Defense.