CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Approximately 150 Marines from 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, took the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics test as part of preparations to deploy to Afghanistan, aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 4, 2013.
The test consists of 50 questions taken over a 20 minute period and assesses different brain functions and mental capabilities.
Approximately 20 computer terminals were set up in a 7th ESB headquarters classroom for the assessments.
“The ANAM is pretty extensive,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew Little, a combat engineer with 7th ESB who took the test. “It tests things like reaction time, simple math and memorization skills.”
The main purpose of the ANAM is to provide a baseline of the Marine’s mental and psychological abilities.
“If the Marine goes forward and gets hurt by anything from a mild to moderate concussion or traumatic brain injury, they can take the test a second time and we can compare both sets of data,” said Adrian Sandoval, a civilian contractor and ANAM supervisor. “We would then be able to see if the individual has any cognitive loss due to the injury.”
If the test results indicate that an injured Marine requires further treatment, the results are given to a medical doctor who provides further clinical evaluation and treatment for the injured Marine.
“One Marine was injured by improvised explosive devices in three subsequent deployments and took the assessment,” said Sandoval, a former Navy corpsman and native of Pueblo, Colo. “We noticed a significant delay when he was answering the questions. After further evaluation, the Marine was dropped from deployment and provided treatment, which prevented any further complications and could have possibly saved the Marine’s life.”
Lastly, the ANAM provides Marines with information they might need after their military career.
“Once they take this it becomes part of their permanent medical record as information they can utilize at the Veteran’s Affairs department if they require appropriate assistance in the future,” said Sandoval. “It’s better to treat someone now than when they get out of the military and it really shows that the government is taking its members’ health and welfare into consideration.”
After finishing preparations, the Marines of 7th ESB are slated to deploy to Afghanistan within the next few months.