Cognitive Rehab: Train Your Brain - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Cognitive Rehab: Train Your Brain

Posted: Updated:

ATLANTA, Ga. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Mild cognitive impairment happens when a person has memory problems, but can still function well in everyday life. Now, there's good news: Doctors say a form of rehab can help these patients train their brains.

Remembering faces, names, where you put your keys; these are struggles for people with mild cognitive impairment.

A study being conducted at Emory University in Atlanta is attempting to improve memory through cognitive rehabilitation.

In one exercise, a therapist asks a series of questions to help the patient learn where an object is placed.  The idea is that the patient comes up with a reason that will help them remember the location. Other exercises focus on matching a facial feature with a person's name.

"You can do the bushy facial hair, and "Bushy Ben," would be an example of that," Benjamin M. Hampstead, Ph.D., and Research Clinical Neuropsychologist at Emory University, told Ivanhoe.

For one study, patients received three training sessions and had two MRI scans, one before the training and one after.  The MRIs after the cognitive rehab showed certain areas of the brain were much more active.

"So their brains remain plastic. They're capable of learning these new techniques," Dr. Hampstead was quoted as saying.

Up to 20 percent of people age 65 and up have mild cognitive impairment. Between one-third and two-thirds of them will go on to develop dementia or Alzheimer's. But Dr. Hampstead says starting therapy earlier can make a difference.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to prolong their functioning for as long as possible," Dr. Hampstead said.

Dr. Hampstead says that some patients with mild cognitive impairment will improve to normal. He says some factors like emotional distress may play a role in memory decline.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

BACKGROUND: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia. It can involve problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes. (SOURCE: www.mayoclinic.com)  

SYMPTOMS: The brain, like the rest of the body, changes with age. Many people notice gradually increasing forgetfulness as they age, but consistent or increasing concern about mental performance may suggest mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Some signs to watch out for include:

  • Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by making decisions, planning steps to accomplish a task or interpreting instructions
  • Getting lost in familiar environments

(SOURCE: www.mayoclinic.com)

MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT VS. ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: Unlike Alzheimer's Disease (AD) where cognitive abilities gradually decline, the memory deficits in MCI may remain stable for years. However, some individuals with MCI develop cognitive deficits and functional impairment consistent with AD. Whether MCI is a disorder distinct from AD or a very early phase of AD is a topic of continuing investigation. (SOURCE: http://memory.ucsf.edu)

RISK FACTORS: The risk factors most strongly linked to MCI are the same as those for dementia: advancing age, family history of Alzheimer's or another dementia, and conditions that raise risk for cardiovascular disease. (SOURCE: http://www.alz.org

TREATMENT: No medications are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat mild cognitive impairment. However, the following coping strategies may be helpful for those with MCI:

  • Control cardiovascular risk factors to protect the heart and blood vessels, including those that support brain function.
  • Participate in mentally-stimulating and socially-engaging activities, which may help sustain brain function.

There is also Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy (CRT). CRT is the process of relearning cognitive skills that have been lost or altered as a result of damage to brain cells/chemistry. CRT Services are directed to achieve functional changes by:

  • Reinforcing, strengthening, or establishing previously learned patterns of behavior.
  • Establishing new patterns of cognitive activity or mechanisms to compensate for impaired neurological systems.
  • Tailoring interventions to help the individual be as independent as possible in the management of his or her everyday routines and responsibilities in their home and community.

(SOURCE: http://www.alz.orgwww.societyforcognitiverehab.org/)

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Casey Bowden
Research Project Coordinator
Center for Rehabilitation Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine
(404) 712-4321
http://emoryhealthnews.org

  • Medical News HeadlinesMedical News HeadlinesMore>>

  • New Laser Treatment Stops Some Epileptic Seizures

    New Laser Treatment Stops Some Epileptic Seizures

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:00:21 GMT
    More than two million adults in the United States have epilepsy and 150,000 more will develop the condition each year. Usually, medication can control seizures, but about 30 percent of patients do not respond. Now, patients have a new treatment option that uses lasers to stop the seizures.
    more>>
    More than two million adults in the United States have epilepsy and 150,000 more will develop the condition each year. Usually, medication can control seizures, but about 30 percent of patients do not respond. Now, patients have a new treatment option that uses lasers to stop the seizures.

    more>>
  • Heating Up Breast Cancer

    Heating Up Breast Cancer

    Monday, April 21 2014 6:15 PM EDT2014-04-21 22:15:09 GMT
    Two years ago, doctors told Lisa Ridgeway she had triple negative breast cancer, a very aggressive disease with no cure. Lisa had surgery, radiation, and chemo, but her cancer came back two more times. Now she’s trying something new.
    more>>
    Two years ago, doctors told Lisa Ridgeway she had triple negative breast cancer, a very aggressive disease with no cure. Lisa had surgery, radiation, and chemo, but her cancer came back two more times. Now she’s trying something new.

    more>>
  • Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:15:06 GMT
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
  • Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:15:09 GMT
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure, but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms.more>>
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure for SMA but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms, it targets mutated SMN genes, which are responsible for SMA.more>>
  • Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:15:09 GMT
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
  • Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Friday, April 11 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-11 21:15:07 GMT
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a rare type of melanoma that targets the eye. It can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a type of melanoma that targets the eye. It affects about 2,000 people a year in the United States. Although rare – it can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
  • Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Thursday, April 10 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-10 21:15:09 GMT
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
  • Pedaling For A Cure

    Pedaling For A Cure

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-09 21:15:09 GMT
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
  • Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-08 21:15:13 GMT
    CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Eric Robinson alive after he went into cardiac arrest. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
    A year ago, while jamming with his son's band, Eric Robinson went into cardiac arrest. CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Robinson alive. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
  • Helping High Risk Hearts

    Helping High Risk Hearts

    Monday, April 7 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-07 21:15:09 GMT
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.