Category: Cognition

The Brain: A basic understanding of how it works.

7 minute read Take-home message The brain is mostly made up of two types of cells, neurons, and glial cells. The neurons transmit messages while the glial cells provide structural and metabolic support, insulation and guidance during development. Neurological disorders all involve malfunction of or damage to the nervous system Understanding how the brain communicates messages is essential when choosing the correct OT treatment approach   Why is it important for OT’s to have a basic understanding of brain physiology? Understanding how messages are received and transmitted by the brain, and what the different areas of the brain are...

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Neuroplasticity: Rewiring the Brain After Trauma (And in Daily Life)

The Takeaway Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change its structure and function in response to an input. If damage occurs along a neural pathway, the brain will try to re-organise itself to reroute information along a non-damaged neural pathway. This is less efficient than the original, so messages can take longer to arrive at the destination. Kleim and Jones (2008) outlined ten principles of neuroplasticity. These are important to consider when planning treatment. Millions of people have benefited from rehabilitation programmes based on the theory of a plastic (malleable) brain. While research is still ongoing in...

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Memory: The types and what happens when it breaks down?

Difficulty remembering appointments or details of conversations is episodic; forgetting how to use a knife and fork is procedural; and that tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon is likely a case of semantic breakdown. By honing in on the specifics, we take away some of the frustration and mystery of forgetting. Understanding memory gives us a chance at identifying points of failure in everyday life and narrows down what strategies will be effective, thus making our treatment both efficient and effective. At the very least, we can say a little more about what is happening to us.

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Clock drawing test: Worth the time?

3 minute read Take home message The clock drawing test is used to highlight problems with high level cognitive skills. Making any one of these errors suggests a problem: displaying the wrong time, no clock hands, missing numbers, number substitutions, number repetition. Even refusing to do the test is a red flag. While the clock scoring test alone can’t diagnose dementia, it can throw up a warning sign to do some further investigation. It’s fast, easy and free. Clock Drawing Test – What’s involved? “I want you to draw a clock, fill in the numbers and set the hands...

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How Memory Works (and Why Sometimes It Doesn’t)

4 minute read   Memory. That golden thing we could curse or kiss; a superpower to store secrets and codes (like a PIN that we never write down); and, at times, the reason we can’t find our keys. From encoding to retrieval, memory is a marvel until it breaks down. When we forget, it’s like clutching at water with our bare hands. A word on the tip of the tongue, a face that’s suddenly lost its name; it’s a wonder we ever get it right. While we don’t know everything about ‘how we get it right’, we do know...

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