Paying bills, taking the many pills doctors prescribe, using the remote control, traveling outside the home — managing life’s daily tasks presents numerous real-world tests of our cognition. Mistakes, errors or subtle declines in performing the well-rehearsed activities of our daily living can be signs of cognitive changes that need attention. The fact is, these activities tap into elegant webs of cognitive abilities. Each of these tasks tests our ability to attend to and recall facts, to understand and manipulate information, and to follow steps in a sequence. Another common warning sign of memory issues is repeating questions or stories — asking a question, hearing the answer and asking the same question 15 minutes later. Another cause for concern is forgetting the day of the week.
- Dementia describes disabling problems in multiple cognitive abilities. The essential word here is “disabling.” The person needs assistance because of measurable declines in abilities such as memory, attention and language.
- Mild cognitive impairment, more commonly known as “MCI,” describes a more, well, milder set of measurable cognitive changes. The person takes longer to complete tasks and makes a few errors, but overall, she’s managing. Where MCI ends, and dementia begins is a fuzzy border. The judgment of a skilled clinician is key to making the call.
- Memory problems are very common in people with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI can damage parts of the brain that handle learning and remembering. TBI affects short-term memory more than long-term memory.
The art depicts the struggle of trying to remember and the ongoing question in one’s mind to recall something important and emotionally relevant.
Memory may be understood in terms of a specific group of neurons that have come under fire in the same pattern each time they are activated, and the links between the neurons are strengthened. Neurotherapy has demonstrated to be effective in teaching the brain to optimize this process or repair/re-establish broken connections At Brain Health Northwest, we offer psychophysiological therapies that are highly effective at treating and alleviating memory issues: Neurofeedback helps the brain regulate to its natural homeostatic electrical and chemical levels; Photobiomodulation is used to help support and grow memory connections at the cellular level; Neurotracker is a memory training tool to optimize and grow memory connections. All these techniques may be used separately, or in specific combination with psychotherapy to progress towards your memory function goals.