Memory and Cognitive Decline

Fighting Memory & Cognitive Decline

We’ve all experienced those moments when we’ve been rushing to leave the house on a Monday morning and turned up late for work because we just couldn’t find our car keys anywhere, or maybe found our minds going blank ahead of a huge presentation. A little brain fog can hit the best of us from time to time. It’s part of what makes us human and none of us are perfect! However, when those moments suddenly start to occur a little too frequently for comfort, or you suddenly find yourself forgetting familiar things like the names of good friends or a frequently driven route, then it might be time to take it a little more seriously.

Is Cognitive Decline Common?

More than 16 million people in the US are thought to be living with cognitive decline.  Over 6 million Americans over 65 are thought to have Alzheimer’s dementia, with Alzheimer’s risk seriously increasing as we age. Around two-thirds of Alzheimer’s sufferers are women.

Physicians tend to refer to the early stages of cognitive decline as MCI, or Mild Cognitive Impairment.

What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Mild Cognitive Impairment describes a state where a person notices a slight decline in some aspect of their mental, or cognitive, abilities, which is not commensurate to the levels that other people their age tend to exhibit. Changes do not meaningfully disrupt day-to-day life as such, but efficiency and clarity of thought may have become slightly impacted or declined just enough for the patient to feel concerned.

While we invariably experience a level of cognitive decline in terms of rapidity of cognitive processing, for example, as we enter an older phase of life (perhaps feeling as time goes by that we might need more mental breaks when reading intellectually challenging books, for example), this adaptation should be minor & not in any way disruptive to the normal experiences and flow of life that we’ve gotten accustomed to. It also shouldn’t be noticeably degenerative. As early detection can be critical in preventing physical damage caused by diseases such as dementia, and in maximizing the effectiveness of treatment options & patient quality of life, we always recommend cognitive health screenings as a preventative measure, and the use of the Brain Gauge™ to ascertain overall cognitive fitness (more of this later).

What Are the Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment?

If you are experiencing MCI, you might experience an increase in the following:

  • Issues with language, such as trouble recalling the word you wish to say on a regular basis
  • Loss of memory where you have trouble recalling recent events, the names of close friends, a pattern of forgetting about and missing scheduled &/or regular appointments
  • You notice that you have more trouble focusing and become more easily distracted
  • Decisions seem more difficult to make and problem-solving might feel more overwhelming
  • Tasks such as driving, paying bills, and so on might become a little more challenging – for example, you forget familiar driving routes, forget to put on your lights or seat belt which impacts your confidence behind the wheel.

How the Doctors Studio Can Help

If you are thinking of coming to the Doctors Studio for a cognitive screening, this is what you can expect. First, we can perform a comprehensive health check, and advise you on any neurological, physical, or endocrinological (hormone-based) or even nutritional issues that might be causing your cognitive symptoms, alongside a close analysis of any risk factors that might need to be considered (e.g., biomarkers, genetic & family history of specific diseases). Then, we use Brain Gauge™ to generate a clear & detailed picture of how well each part of your brain is working.

At the Doctors Studio, we are well aware that a compromised cognitive ability can be caused by a whole range of factors from the serious to the relatively innocuous (tumors, low B12 levels, the early onset of dementia, a bacterial infection, cardiovascular issues), which means comprehensive tests, then tailored, targeted care.

The Many Causes of MCI

According to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), around 7.5% of individuals diagnosed with MCI will go on to develop dementia within the first year after diagnosis, rising to 15% in the 2nd year and 20% in the third year. The AAN also reports that MCI is present in around 8% of 65–69-year-olds, rising to 37% in those aged over 85. However, MCI or evidenced cognitive decline doesn’t always lead to dementia. In fact, it might be attributable to a whole range of causes that we can rapidly test for, diagnose, treat & then eviscerate, also simultaneously trying to reverse any damage that has occurred. For example, MCI can be caused by:

  • Stress. A chronic over-exposure to the stress hormone cortisol can lead to numerous negative health effects including memory loss, or the perception of memory loss (high levels of stress can impair short-term memory, for example) and impaired cognitive function. Depression and anxiety can also cause similar effects.
  • Diseases relating to blood flow, such as traumatic brain injuries, blood pressure, blood clots, tumors, and strokes
  • Low Vitamin B12 levels, alongside malabsorption of other nutrients (possibly as a result of gut inflammation, IBS, &/or poor gut health)
  • Thyroid problems
  • Kidney & liver problems
  • A bacterial or viral infection
  • Hormonal effects of menopause and PMS can create temporary disruptions in aspects of cognitive activity
  • Some medical prescriptions

How We Measure Overall Brain Health

At the Doctors Studio, we have an amazing suite of genuinely progressive, medically advanced, next-gen tests available at our fingertips to investigate the health of your brain & cognitive function, and then, if necessary, to diagnose the exact cause, which we can then treat. Our tests include:

  • MRI magnetic resonance imaging scan
  • Brain Gauge™
  • Nutritional & gut health tests to ascertain the existence of B12 and other deficiencies.
  • A comprehensive consultation that includes a detailed medical history, including family history, genetic & lifestyle-based data to assess the possible heightened risk of dementia or other causes of cognitive impairment.

As you age, many people think that the body and the brain naturally slow down & that you should accept a slower pace of life.  We don’t agree. If you WANT to slow down, fine, but age is no excuse for the end of the adventure, so don’t feel as if you need to accept less than optimized cognitive health.

How Healthy is Your Brain? Find Out with Brain Gauge™.

To stay on top of cognitive health means doing the same as staying on top of physical health – regular health checks with the therapies & treatments needed if any sub-optimal performance is spotted. Let’s take a closer look at Brain Gauge™, our preferred testing strategy to gain the clearest picture possible of the health of your brain.

Brain Gauge™ enables us to gauge exactly how healthy your brain is, using a fun, short, efficient & stimulating test that you might even enjoy! Sensitive enough to reflect neurological & cognitive changes as small as the effect of taking one sedative, it is also powerful enough to be used as an indicator of cognitive adaptation & dysfunction caused by ADHD and a range of other neurological conditions.

Brain Gauge™ is unique in that it divides results into eight distinct categories, giving you the ability to gain a comprehensive overview of cognitive function. These categories are accuracy, focus, speed, fatigue, connectivity, plasticity, TOJ (sequencing), and time perception:

  • Accuracy: Your brains’ ability to detect small differences
  • Focus: Your brains’ ability to focus on the task at hand
  • Speed: How quickly your brain reacts to stimulation
  • Fatigue: How quickly your brain tires out when you are feeling stressed
  • Connectivity: Your brains’ ability to communicate & co-ordinate
  • Plasticity: Your brains’ ability to adapt and respond to change
  • Sequencing (TOJ, or Temporal Order Judgement): Your brain’s ability to identify the order of events
  • Time Perception: Your brain’s ability to identify the duration of events

Brain Gauge™ Benefits

The Brain Gauge™ ultimately offers a range of fantastic

benefits that allow you to gain a unique snapshot of your cognitive health.

These benefits include:  

  • A comprehensive, fast snapshot of mental fitness & brain health, represented clearly using easy-to-read quantitative data;
  • The ability to track detailed reports for specific mental abilities or functions that interest you the most;
  • Creation of a comprehensive summary of cognitive function over time;
  • Monitoring of concussions without the need for a baseline test;
  • Allows the efficient testing of athletes, with a portable device that also offers the most accurate tech on the market;
  • Enables you to track your brains’ response to specific supplements, dietary adaptations, and medications.
  • Adaptive tests keep you challenged and engaged, even as your cognitive skills improve;
  • Allows the monitoring of symptoms of chronic pain, ADHD, and other neurodevelopmental conditions;
  • Empowers you to discover new ways to optimize your cognitive performance.

Let the Doctors Studio Help You

If you feel it’s time to gauge the speed, accuracy, focus, and overall health of your brain, Brain Gauge™ offers excellent insights and benefits. Contact the Doctor Studio today if you feel that you, or someone that you love, would benefit from this technologically innovative, comprehensive, & illuminating diagnostic test.

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