Cognitive rehabilitation: what is it and what is it used for?

There are various causes for which a person can suffer severe cognitive impairment, leading science to develop other kinds of solutions. Among the best known methods is cognitive rehabilitation. And that is why today we detail what it is about and what it is used for.

Definition of cognitive rehabilitation

When talking about cognitive rehabilitation, reference is made to a set of techniques developed to repair various brain functions. These, of course, have to do with cognition, such as attention, using language or even memory. Which were damaged due to some injury. Although it could also be the cause of deterioration caused by degenerative diseases.

Thus, these problems may be caused by another class of traumatic injuries that generate some condition within the brain. Either external, as in the case of an impact, or internal, such as the formation of a thrombus. When it comes to diseases, reference is often made to dementias, where Alzheimer’s is the most serious variant of all.

Cognitive deterioration can also be generated by the presence of other diseases such as: Major depression, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Therefore, the effects of these diseases can be corrected with cognitive stimulation. Applied through the relevant rehabilitation techniques.

What role does it play?

The main function exercised by cognitive rehabilitation is to slow down, stop or even reverse the lack of brain functions. However, everything goes according to the means available to the medical center in charge. As is evident, the program that is applied will depend on the characteristics that the patient has, as well as the condition that he suffers.

It means that all cognitive rehabilitation procedures must be carried out individually. The specialist in charge will be the one who makes the decision about the pattern of techniques that should be applied. Following the criteria that it deems convenient so that the effect obtained is efficient, and improves the cognitive functions of the affected person.

cognitive decline

It is a condition that occurs through alterations in cognitive functioning. Where there are complications in different functions and executive capacities, as in the case of memory, attention, reasoning, among others. It does not usually occur in the same way in all people, since there are different levels or degrees of cognitive impairment.

The milder problems could be difficulties remembering objects, and the more serious ones could be that the person is not able to lead an autonomous life. It is also possible to classify cognitive impairment as irreversible or reversible. Taking into account its cause, these impairments could be recovered, but in other cases the impairment is progressive.

What is cognitive rehabilitation based on?

The reasons why these techniques work lie in the brain itself. His own plasticity gives him the ability to rebuild his same functions due to certain injuries. So other neural areas will take over the tasks of the structures that suffered damage. Thus, through the use of various cognitive rehabilitation techniques, it is intended to stimulate certain areas of the brain.

This is done so that they learn to carry out the functions that at another time were carried out by circuits of neurons that have been damaged or have suffered alterations. It must be borne in mind that not all brain injuries affect cognitive functions. The brain is an organ that has a kind of cognitive reserve. Allowing it to be able to assume some changes in its structure, without causing any condition.

For the latter case, cognitive rehabilitation exercises are not required. Since the person, despite having gone through a brain problem, has their cognitive functions intact.

Types of cognitive rehabilitation

They are methods of quite diverse qualities, some could be just exercises and others need some medical infrastructure. Some of the clearest examples are:

Games and activities notebook

Among the most outstanding cognitive rehabilitation techniques is this one, since it is efficient and simple. Using exercises through an activity notebook, as if it were an interactive game. Regarding notebooks, it is possible to find them of various types taking into account the cognitive function that must be repaired, as in the case of memory.

It is of great importance to choose an exercise book of the appropriate level for the patient to be rehabilitated. Levels below your capacity will have no effect, and if it is too high it could lead to great frustration. The latter could be generating counterproductive effects.

On the other hand, there is a wide variety of games that are applied in this technique, such as puzzles or platform games on a computer. The idea is to choose those activities that represent an adequate challenge, according to the person’s abilities.

electrical stimulation

It is one of the most invasive cognitive rehabilitation techniques. The actual name of this method is Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. As its name indicates, it is based on applying electrical current to specific parts of the brain. With the aim of stimulating those areas to get the damage to be reversed.

However, this is a practically new technique and there are still some contraindications about the results obtained. Because of this, more research will be needed to get a better conclusion from this method.

neurotechnology

Compared to the previous case, this is a much more complex method. Since it consists of some devices by which it is possible to connect to the brain of a person through a computer. Measuring specific parameters and can even be altered using electrical impulses.

It is the most complex way of carrying out cognitive rehabilitation, allowing the development of certain programs to work on the brain damage that the patient has suffered. Assuming a huge advantage over other methods that could be more global. Obviously there are also drawbacks, especially due to the devices required to carry out this measure.

Therefore, neurotechnology can only be used in very specific places, and it can be used by people who have the necessary resources. Being the only way in which an exclusive treatment such as this can be performed. Fortunately, advances in technology advance exponentially, reducing production costs a bit.

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