Posts Tagged ‘short-term memory’

Common Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

October 6, 2011

Most of us joke or tease about memory loss as we get older. But memory loss that disrupts daily life is not a typical part of aging. It may be one of the signs of Alzheimer’s, a fatal brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.

Every individual may experience one or more of these signs in different degrees; and one symptom alone does not necessarily indicate that a person has Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you are concerned about symptoms you or a loved one are having, following is a list of some of the more common symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Money trouble
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Wandering
  • Repetitive speech or actions
  • Seemingly purposeless activity
  • Loss of initiative and motivation
  • Don’t recognize family and friends
  • Loss of motor skills and sense of touch
  • Difficulty dressing
  • Disregard for grooming and hygiene
  • Forgetting meals
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Delusions and paranoia
  • Verbal and physical aggression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Clingy or childlike behavior

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping people of all ages improve their cognitive and memory skills. Find out more about Optiminds programs by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: And be sure to visit our website at

What is Cognitive Training?

May 11, 2011

If an individual is having trouble paying attention or learning, tutoring or drill and practice in academic areas are often not effective. In fact, approximately 80% of all learning struggles aren’t due to poorly taught information, but are in fact the result of one or more cognitive skills weaknesses. (See our May 4, 2011 blog entry for a discussion of “cognitive skills.”)

Cognitive training, also referred to as “brain exercise,” focuses on helping to improve the “core” abilities and self-control necessary before an individual can function successfully academically. Typically, cognitive training consists of a variety of exercises designed to help improve functioning in areas such as sustaining attention, thinking before acting, visual and auditory processing, listening and reading. The exercises “drill for skill” directly in the areas where basic specific cognitive difficulties occur.

Research has shown that brain exercise can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and can also improve the cognitive functioning of people with attention deficit disorder, head injuries, autism, schizophrenia and other cognitive problems. Cognitive training is used to develop the thinking skills that help children in school and adults in the workplace improve their memory, attention, listening skills, self-control, processing speed, and more.

Optiminds is a Cognitive, Professional Brain Training Skills Center owned and operated by Jane Stewart, Ph.D. Visit us at:, give us a call at (248) 496-0150 or email us at:

What are Cognitive Skills?

May 4, 2011

Cognitive skills are the underlying brain skills that make it possible for us to think, remember and learn. They allow us to process the huge influx of information we receive each and every day at work, at school and in life. If your cognitive skills aren’t up to speed, no matter what kind of information you try to grasp—or how many times you try to grasp it—the process can feel sluggish and slow.

Cognitive skills include a wide variety of abilities that are necessary for analyzing sounds and images, recalling information, making associations between different pieces of information, and maintaining focus on a given task.

Some examples of cognitive skills include:

Processing Speed—the speed at which your brain processes information. Faster processing speed means more efficient thinking and learning.

Auditory Processing—the ability to analyze, blend and segment sounds. Auditory processing is crucial for speaking, reading and spelling. When you read, for example, you need to be able to identify the individual and blended sounds that make each word unique and recognizable.

Visual Processing—the ability to perceive, analyze and think in visual images. Visual processing is imperative for reading, remembering, walking, driving, playing sports and thousands of other tasks people perform every day.

Long-Term Memory—the “library” of facts and knowledge a person has accumulated in the past.

Short-Term Memory—Also called working memory, this skill handles the dynamic job of keeping at the forefront of your mind the information you need to complete immediate and short-term tasks.

Logic and Reasoning—the ability to reason, form concepts, and solve problems using unfamiliar information or new procedures. Logic and reasoning enable you to create correlations, solve problems, plan ahead and draw conclusions.

Attention Skills—There are three types of attention skills. Sustained Attention is the ability to stay focused and on-task for a period of time. Selective Attention is the ability to quickly sort through incoming information and stay focused on one thing in spite of distractions. Divided Attention is the ability to multi-task.

Optiminds is a Cognitive, Professional Brain Training Skills Center owned and operated by Jane Stewart, Ph.D. Visit us at:, give us a call at (248) 496-0150 or email us at:

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