Improving Cognitive Function From Children to Old Age

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By definition cognitive functions  refers to the mental processes involved in taking in, storing, transforming and receiving information from an external boost. There are 8 main cognition processes which include: 

Attention: which means mental focus

Sensation: The outcome once the sensory system  processes   a sense

Perception: This refers to how sensual data is arranged, translated and discreetly experienced

Memory: in terms of cognition, memory refers to the brains ability to record information and facilitate recalling it later.

Thinking: Conception through the mind

Learning: The processing acquiring of new information

Problem solving: refers to the process of overcoming challenges by applying psychological strategies

Decision making: process by which a preferred choice is made among other alternatives of certain standards.

If one intends to improve their cognitive function there are talking about improving one of the above mentioned processes thus making use of the treatments designed for that purpose.

Cognitive Impairment in children

 In children the following are the most common ailments

  • Dyslexia: a learning disorder characterised by inability to read.
  • Dysgraphia: a Neurological disorder where one finds it difficult to write
  • Dyspraxia: a neurological motor disorder  which affects the physical co-ordination of a child causing them difficulties in performing task they should at their age
  • Dyscalculia: a learning disorder characterised by difficulty in performing simple arithmetic like addition and subtraction.
  • Visual processing disorder: is a condition where ones  ability to interpret and understand visual information is distorted.
  • Audio processing disorder : a hearing condition in which the way the brain processes sound is disrupted
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: this is a neurobehavioral disorder characterised by unusual levels of hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.
  • Anxiety disorder: A mental health condition where a child frequently experiences feelings of worry and fear about normal daily experiences
  • Post Traumatic stress disorder: a mental health disorder which is as a result of failing to recover from a traumatic experience like sexual assault
  • Obsessive Compulsive behavior (OCD): a mental health  condition characterized by frequent unwanted thoughts  or sensations that lead to compelling behavior

Child Cognitive impairments treatment

  • For Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia there is no medication as such various strategies are implores to curb their effects.

Dyslexia

The best way to treat Dyslexia is to apply special education techniques as soon as possible to teach practice basic reading strategies repeatedly

Dysgraphia

It’s most treated by Occupational therapy: the use of special activities as way to recover from physical or mental illness that prevent them from doing Normal daily tasks.

Physical therapy: where therapists work to improve hand strength and motor coordination required to write.

Dyscalculia

The best way is to intervene as soon as possible to equip the child with the necessary skills to learn in a different way.

Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is treated by combination frequent  therapies which include occupational and physical therapy. Social skill training is required as Dyspraxia usually disrupts  social skills.

  • Visual processing disorder

The best method of treating visual processing disorder is through visual processing therapy. It is characterised by one on one vision training to prepare them for there learning environment and improving there reading and learning skills

  • Audio processing disorder

Treatment varies depending on the type of the audio processing disorder they are suffering from but one of the common treatment include

 Environmental modifications : This is where you change the way is transmitted to the patient like speaking slowly and repeating key information.

Auditory training: program designed to assist people with hearing limitations by teaching the brain how to recognize auditory signals.

Assistive listening devices:

These are portable devices that amplifies the sound you wish to listen to.

The two most effective way to treat Attention hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Anxiety disorder, Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive Compulsive behavior are namely

Cognitive behavioral therapy: This is an evidence based treatment where a trained specialist guides how a patient thinks by evaluating  thoughts that affect our emotions  and highlighting  which is accurate and which one is not thus changing how you feel and eventually how you react to it.

Lastly the use of Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) has proven to be fruitful. There are many (SSRI’s) but most of them are not approved  children.

The most effective (SSRI) approved for children is Adderall. Adderall is a mixture of dextro and lavo amphetamine that is mostly used treat (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

The amphetamines  lead to the increase in dopamine, norepinephrine  and to some extent serotonin.

Serotonin is a chemical messenger that stabilizes our  feelings of well being which consequently puts us in a very good mode.

Cognitive functions in adults and young adults

Even though some adults and young adults improve there Cognition as a result of Cognitive impairments, a good number of them are healthy and are only trying to enhance normal Cognitive capabilities.

Cognitive impairments in young adults can be as a result of persisting childhood neurodevelopmental disorder, health conditions like Diabetes and injury. Cognitive impairments in young adults can also be attributed to poor health practices like drug abuse and lack of exercise. Examples of impairments include

  • Slowing in mental speed
  • Poor decision making
  • Disruption in planning and memory

Treating Cognitive function in adults and young adults

  • Medication

Slow mental speed, Poor memory, decision making and planning can all be treated by armodafinil.

Armodafinil is an Isomer of modafinil, meaning it has the same atoms as modafinil, but they are arranged in different ways.

Depending on the country modafinil is sold under different, However in some countries it’s sold under more than one brand for example in India, it’s sold Waklert 150, Acronite and R-modawake.

These brand names include which are  Armoda, Armod, Artvigil 150, Neoresotyle, Nuvigil, Modavital and Nodement. Armodafinil improves decision- making, planning and memory.

Just like any other drug, when Armodafinil is taken unreasonably it can produce bad effects dizziness, headache, nausea and many other problems. The amount of Armodafinil you take depends on the severity of your case but the most common doses are Artvigil 150 mg.

Natural remedies

All the above mentioned ailments can be treated by

  • Eating healthy

To some extent cognition is determined by ones diet. Foods that contain a lot of simple sugars are likely to lead to difficulties in Concentration and attention, which affect all the above mentioned functions. However foods with a low Gl, also know as foods that take a little longer to be digested and absorbed improve cognition.

  • Getting enough sleep

Getting enough sleep promotes ones memory, concentration and attention abilities which are building blocks of majority of the cognitive processes.

  • Exercise

Exercise increases the bodies production of endorphins which help relief stress, depression  and anxiety which  contribute to poor memory, decision making and planning.

Cognitive Improvement in the aged

As you grow old you are going to experience a decline in some cognitive functions. Fact is everyone one is going to suffer from one or more cognitive impairments.

However you can drastically move from these normal impairments to having dementia as a result of a brain injury or a medical emergency like stroke. But to move from normal aging cognitive functions to dementia is a gradual process called Mild cognitive impairments. The most common Age related cognitive impairment include

  • Memory loss
  • Reduced attention
  • Poor Hearing

Treatment of normal aging Cognitive impairment

Attention and to some extent memory impairment can be treated by modafinil. Modafinil is a racemic mixture of it’s R and S isomers.

It is sold under various brand names namely worldwide which include: Modalert 200 mg, Modafinilo, Modasomil, Modvigil 200, Modiodal, Modiwake, Movigil 200, Provigil, Stavigile, Vigicer, Vigil, Vigimax, Alaterc, Alaterx, altasomil and Zalux.

Modalert has other good effects like modelift, improved task enjoyment and general Cognitive enhancement. Among the the potential negative effects is nausea, anxiety and increased heart rate. Dosage is dependant on a number of factors like age and severity. A light dose of modafinil can  be modalert 50 to 100 mg while a strong dose is above 200mg. Never the less the most common doses  modafinil are Waklert 150 mg.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for age related listening impairment. However you can make use of listening  devices like hearing aid or devices that convert speech to text.

Other methods to curb the effects of the impaired include learning how to read  speech and strategically handling excess wax.

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read more: Modalert  vs Modvigil — Why are They Different?

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