Author Archive

Social Activity and Prevention of Cognitive Decline

December 1st, 2013 2 comments

“Don’t ever get old,” “I’m not what I used to be,” and “I’m old now, I can’t do that.” I think we’ve all at one time or another heard phrases like this coming from older adults. With old age, both body and mind are not as sharp as in times of youth. For instance, before his knee replacement, my grandfather had difficulty simply standing up or walking around his house. His knee replacement has helped him immensely though, and he is much more agile and happier now. Unfortunately, this sometimes-reversible physical deterioration and pain associated with aging is accompanied by potentially crippling declines in cognitive functioning. Important everyday activities like navigating a vehicle in heavy traffic, learning and retaining someone’s name, or remembering to take medication on time all become more difficult to execute in old age. An important question, then, becomes whether or not there are certain behaviors or practices that can help to slow cognitive decline, similar to how my grandfather’s knee replacement helped his physical wellbeing.

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Memory in People With Schizophrenia: What is Impaired, What is Preserved?

April 30th, 2013 3 comments

One in four: This is the proportion of Americans living today that have suffered from a diagnosable mental illness within the last year (“Mental Illness,” 2011). Examining this statistic, it is clear that the effects of mental illness are widespread. In the US, for example, costs for direct treatment of mental illness are estimated to be US$ 148 billion annually, and indirect economic costs – like lost employment (due to medical leave) and decreased productivity, are two to six times higher than that (Panthare, 2003).

If you yourself aren’t directly afflicted with a disorder, chances are someone in your immediate or extended family may be. The outward physical manifestations of these disorders may be minimal for those possessing them, making them seem at times like “invisible illnesses;” that is, you may not be able to tell that someone has one of these disorders simply by looking at them. Complicating things even further for individuals with a mental disorder, many who are afflicted may not have received a proper diagnosis or are struggling without professional medical help.

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