Amanda Sacks, Ph.D., ABPP

Neuropsychology
Amanda Sacks

As a result of any neurological condition or brain injury (including the trauma of brain surgery), an individual may experience overwhelming and disorienting emotional and cognitive changes. Adapting to these changes requires someone to truly see themselves as having the ability to incorporate change, to compensate, and to build on existing cognitive and emotional skills. I have the privilege of being able to provide the treatment that can help with this process. As a neuropsychologist with the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, I use cognitive remediation and psychotherapy to help patients recover from surgery, chemotherapy, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological conditions. I follow one overarching principle in order to be effective: Everyone has strength, both cognitive and emotional. Such strength might not be completely realized until an individual sustains a setback, so my job is to explore, search, and find this strength collaboratively with the patient. I then adapt treatment to the individual, not only to build cognitive skills but to bring awareness of these strengths to the individual. Ultimately, such collaborative treatment will result in better functioning and a more satisfactory life.

Amanda L. Sacks, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist who has had extensive experience in assessing and treating neurological disorders with cognitive remediation as well as researching the cognitive impact of brain injury.  She treats a variety of patients who suffer from cognitive and emotional difficulties that may be the result of epilepsy; radiation or chemotherapy; cardiopulmonary bypass procedures; surgery; cerebrovascular disease; stroke; silent infarcts; brain tumor resection;  movement disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease; metabolic disorders; infectious processes such as encephalitis or Lyme disease; chemical toxin exposure; traumatic brain injury; and dementia diagnoses including mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, multi-infarct dementia, and frontal temporal dementia.

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Dr. Sacks sees patients at
520 East 70th St. @ York Ave. (Starr 651)

Find out more about the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center

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TRAINING

Dr. Sacks received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from The George Washington University and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Fairleigh Dickinson University. She completed two postdoctoral fellowships, one at University Behavioral Healthcare, UMDNJ, in Piscataway, New Jersey, focusing on geropsychology and one at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, where she was trained in assessing, treating, and researching acquired and traumatic brain injury.  Additionally, she has been a staff psychologist at NYU Langone Medical Center Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine for three years and a neuropsychologist in the Faculty Group Practice in the Department of Psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center and is faculty appointed to the Department of Anesthesiology at the NYU Langone Medical Center. 

RESEARCH

Dr. Sacks has been involved in various research projects throughout her training and professional career.  Specifically, during her first postdoctoral fellowship at the University Behavioral Healthcare, UMDNJ, she derived research projects examining cognitive correlates of emotion in dementia as well as published book chapters regarding PTSD and family interventions in older adults.  During her second postdoctoral fellowship at Mount Sinai Medical Center,  she  assisted in deriving manualized Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for individuals post-TBI for the purpose of researching the efficacy of this treatment, participated in systematic reviews of literature on evidenced based practices of treatment post TBI, developed research projects, published findings, and presented at conferences on TBI and aging.  During her time as a faculty appointed member to the Department of Anesthesiology at NYULMC, Dr. Sacks analyzed and presented data on post-operative cognitive dysfunction as well as derived research studies on cognitive issues post-operatively in cardiac patients and cognitive issues related to compliance in the wound care population.  She is currently in the process of developing research projects to examine the efficacy of cognitive remediation programs on post-operative cognitive difficulties in brain tumor patients within the Department of Neurological Surgery Weill Cornell Medical College, Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center.

Publications

Publications:

  • Sacks, A.  Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology.  Eds.  DeLuca, J. & Kreutzer, J.  Memory Section:  Mnemonics.  Springer Press: New York, NY, 2010.
  • Sacks, A., Fenske, C., Gordon, W., Hibbard, M., Perez, K., Braundau, S., Cantor, J., Ashman, T. & Speilman, L.  (2009).  Comorbidity of substance abuse and traumatic brain injury.  Journal of Dual Diagnosis. 5, 404-417.
  • Hyer, L., Shah, S. & Sacks, A.  Psychiatry in Long Term Care.  Eds. Reichman, W. & Katz, P. Family Interventions.  Oxford University Press: New York, 2009.
  • Hyer, L., Yeager, C., Hilton, N. & Sacks, A.  (2009).  Group, individual and staff therapy: an efficient and effective cognitive behavioral therapy in long-term care.  American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, 23 (6), 528-539.
  • Hyer, L. & Sacks, A.  Handbook of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies with Older Adults.  Eds. Gallagher-Thompson, Steffen, A. & Thompson L., D. PTSD  in Later Life.  Springer: New York, 2008.
  • Sacks, A.,Yi, A. & Gordon, WA.  (2008).  Post TBI aging and cognitive functioning: a systematic review.  Brain Injury Professional. 5 (3), 24.
  • Ashman, T., Cantor, J., Gordon, W., Sacks, A., Spielman, L., Egan, M. & Hibbard, M.  (2008). A comparison of cognitive functioning in older adults with and without TBI. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. Brain Injury versus TBI. 23(3), 139-148.
  • Breed, S., Sacks, A., Ashman, T., Gordon, WA., Dahlman, K. & Spielman, L. (2008)  Cognitive functioning among individuals with TBI, AD, and no cognitive impairments.  Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. 23 ( 3), 149-157.
  • Staal, J.,  Sacks, A., Matheis, R., Collier,  L., Calia, T., Hanif, H. & Kofman, E. (2007).  The effect of snoezelen (Multi-Sensory Behavior Therapy- MSBT) to increase independence in activities of daily living and reduce agitation and apathy of patients with dementia on a short term geriatric psychiatric unit.  International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. 37(4), 357-370.  

 

Presentations:

Haile, M., Kline, R., Sacks, A., Pirraglia, E., Divedahr, S., Kline, D., DeLeon, M., & Bekker, A. (2013).  Pre Operative inflammatory burden in the elderly increases the risk of developing post operative cognitive dysfunction.  Presented at the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, Chicago, Illinois.

Sacks, A., Haile, M., Pirraglia, E.,. Farber, S., Chu A., De Santi, S., Didehvar, S., Roy, M., O’Neill, D., De Leon, M, &, Bekker, A. (2012).  Post Operative Cognitive Changes in the Elderly.  Presented at the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, Seattle, Washington.

Sacks, A. & Sherr, R. (2009).  CASE STUDY: Cognitive Remediation Techniques in the Case of Ischemic Encephalopathy and Comorbid Quadriplegia  Presented at the American Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine, Montreal, Canada.

Sacks, A., Yi, A., Gordon, WA.  (2008).  Post TBI aging and cognitive functioning: a systematic review.  Presented at Galveston Brain Injury Conference 2008, Galveston, Texas.

Sacks, A., Yi, A., Cantor, J., Speilman, L. & Greer, C. (2008).  The Impact of Time Since Injury and Number of Injuries in Older Adults With Traumatic Brain Injury and Implications for Brain Plasticity.  Presented at Presented at American Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine, Toronto, Canada.

Yi, A., Sacks, A., Greer, C., Cantor, J., Ashman, T. & Speilman, L.  (2008).  Cognitive Reserve in Older Adults With Traumatic Brain Injury.  Presented at American Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine, Toronto, Canada. 
 

Sacks, A., Ashman, T., Cantor, J., Speilman, L. & Egan, M. (2007).  Cognitive Functioning in Older Adults Over Time: Effect of Traumatic Brain Injury and APOE4 Status.  Presented at American Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine, Washington, D.C.

Sacks, A., Gallo, J., Coleman, J., Hyer, L., Chen, K. & Aupperle, P.(2006).  Depression and Insight are Mediated by Language Skills in Dementia.  Presented at American Psychological Association, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Gallo, J., Sacks, A., Hyer, L., Minsky, S., Kiely, G., Vega, W. & Gara, M. (2006).  Clinical Patterns and Service Use by Older Public Mental Health Clients with Depression and Anxiety.  Presented at American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Sacks, A., Gallo, J., Jacobs, S., Hyer, L., Coleman, J., Shah, J. & Aupperle, P.(2006).  The Relationship Between Apathy and Depression in Elders with Dementia.  Presented at American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Sacks, A. (2005).  A Psychological Perspective on Healthcare Policies: An Interview with Mildred Fruhling.  Published in Psychologists in Long Term Care Newsletter 2005.

Staal, J. & Sacks, A. (2005).  Combination Treatment: Multi-Sensory Behavior Therapy and Standard Psychiatric Care on Activities of Daily Living.  Presented at the Gerontological Society of America, Orlando, Florida.

Freilich, B., Hyer, L., Sohnle, S. & Sacks, A. (2005).  The Ecological Validity of the RBANS Among Demented Patients.  Presented at the Gerontological Society of America, Orlando, Florida.

Bastiani, L., Sacks, A. & Lachenmeyer, J. (2002).  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: An Empirical Look at Avoidance.  Presented at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, Austin, Texas.

Sacks, A., Lachenmeyer, J. & Uccello, R. (2001).  Clinical Issues in Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Schizophrenics.  Presented at the 2001 World Congress of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Vancouver, Canada.

Kraft, T.R., Downey, E., Longo, T. & Sacks, A. (1998). Predictive Factors of Adolescent Psychopathy.  Presented at The XVI Congress of the World Association for Social Psychiatry, Vancouver, Canada.