Monday, January 12, 2015

Cognitive Impairments

I found this information online about having Cognitive problems. I found it an interesting read. The list in the end is dead on.  

"Cognitive complaints, almost always, are the most disabling of the six types of impairments caused by a brain injury. They are most profound immediately after the injury when the survivor has very limited awareness.

During rehabilitation, cognitive abilities typically improve dramatically, but rarely fully. All but a handful of survivors of serious brain injuries experience major cognitive deficits.
In the past, it was believed that, after two years, people living with a brain injury made little or no progress in cognitive ability. New research, however, has demonstrated that recovery can, with effort, be a lifelong exercise.

Cognitive impairments — by themselves or in combination — cause many problems in daily life. Take reading, for example. One person has difficulty reading because her injury damaged the language centers of her brain. She can’t comprehend the meaning of many words. A second person struggles to read since her injury compromised her short-term memory. She can’t follow the flow of a story. A third cancelled her library card because her injury ravaged her ability to concentrate. She started a book twenty times and never got past the first page.

Neuropsychological testing is a tool rehabilitation therapists use to isolate the cognitive impairments — such as language, memory, and/or concentration — that cause a particular functional problem, such as difficulty reading.

Unlike physical complaints, which are easily diagnosed, cognitive impairments can be subtle. This is especially true with a package of higher-level cognitive abilities called executive functioning. We use our executive functioning abilities to do everything from making an egg salad sandwich to launching a spacecraft. The survivor and those around her often don’t recognize major deficits in this area until she returns home and reenters the community.

Memory almost always is impaired by a brain injury. 

Four types of memory can be affected, singly or in combination:
  • Short-term: the ability to hold a small amount of information for about twenty seconds
  • Long-term: the ability to hold and retrieve information for as little as a few days and as long as a few decades
  • Retrograde: the ability to recall events that occurred prior to the injury
  • Anterograde: the ability to recall events that occurred after the injury

Other common cognitive complaints include deficits in the following areas:

  • Attention
  • Comprehension
  • Concentration
  • Decision-making
  • Initiation
  • Judgment
  • Self-monitoring
  • Spatial orientation
  • Language comprehension
  • Safety awareness
  • Information processing
  • Learning new material 

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