Anti Dementia

Published on October 11, 2012

Want a sharper memory and a more agile mind? The solution might be just one click away.


In late adulthood, cognitive functioning gradually declines with age- a process most people want to prevent. Emilio Muhd, a senior therapist at The Brain Foundation Singapore, has various solutions to tackle Attention Issues, Mild Memory Loss or Cognitive Aging.

"In conjuction with world Mental Health Day (10th October 2012), initiated by World Health Organisation, I like to share with our community that, dementia and alzheimer's disease can be delayed, or rectified with rigorous mental stimulation, and we have the technology for remediation". And no it is not head massage- it is a tele- medicine platform. Whereby treatment can be done remotely online from home, and also beneficial for distance therapy. This is not something new, tele- medicine platform have been utilised for a decade in Europe, namely Sweden, Denmark, France.

Although we cannot regenerate limbs, we can re-invent our brains (and thereby ourselves) through neuroplasticity. Early theories depicted the human brain as a “machine,” which could not physically change its makeup. Today, we know that our brains undergo daily renovations to adapt to our ever-changing world.

In neuroscience, brain plasticity refers to the ability of the brain to modify its structures and neural mechanisms. Changes in brain function occur as the brain re-wires itself in response to new demands placed on it by the external environment. Our malleable brains help us thrive by crafting environmentally appropriate survival strategies. Brain plasticity underlies the brain’s extraordinary capacity to learn, unlearn and relearn.

Let us look what is happening outside Singapore. According to scientist and experts based in San Francisco,- America has about 400 retirement communities nationwide that are implementing brain-fitness programs. Retirement communities are on the cutting-edge of brain fitness efforts because many residents demand the systems. Wounded military troops in other parts of the world, often spend months in physical therapy to regain strength in their damaged bodies. Now, the military is trying something similar for military personnel with injured brains.

Plans to set up "Mental Gym" for retirement homes and eldercare within Singapore will be scheduled for 2013.

A note for therapist when implementing intervention: When therapist raises self expectation that their clients to do well and show intellectual growth, they do. However, be mindful that when a therapist just sits and do not have these or any expectations, performance and growth are not encouraged as much and may actually be discouraged in a number of ways. This effect is known as the Pygmalion phenomenon (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 2003).

Brain- plasticity can significantly help older people struggling with memory disturbances and those of more serious nature.

"I honestly believe we're going to see cognitive rejuvenation. This is my grand goal, far beyond what other therapies have achieved to date. That means the average 80 year old, will function cognitively like a 50 year old." It is a big jump when we marry science and technology. Alas, the issues of mental decline or cognitive loss within seniors brackets in Singapore, can be rectified. It is indeed an exciting time.

Below a Neurologist discusses that seniors can benefit with computers as tool for intervention.



References:
  • Hamilton, J. After brain injuries, troops hit mental gym.
  • Landau, Susan M., PhD et al. Association of Lifetime Cognitive Engagement and Low β-Amyloid Deposition, Arch Neurol. Published online January 23, 2012. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.2748
  • Hall CB, Lipton RB, Sliwinski M, et al. Cognitive activities delay onset of memory decline in persons who develop dementia. Neurology. 2009;73(5):356-361.
  • Woods B, Aguirre E, Spector AE, Orrell M. Cognitive stimulation to improve cognitive functioning in people with dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD005562.
  • Brooker , D. J. , & Woolley , R. J. (2007). Enriching opportunities for people living with dementia: The development of a blueprint for a sustainable activity-based model. Aging & Mental Health, 11 , 371 – 383.
  • Rosenthal, R. & Jacobson, L. (2003) Pygmalion in the classroom. Teacher expectation and pupil's intellectual development.

Category(s):Aging & Geriatric Issues, Cognitive Problems Amnesia / Dementia, Dementia, Intellectual Disability, Mental Health Professions, Mental Retardation, Schizophrenia

Written by:

Emilio Muhd

Emilio Muhd is a Senior Therapist at The Brain Foundation Singapore.

Emilio turned out to be one of the brightest professionals in his cohort and thus was awarded a membership into the Golden Key International Honour Society in recognition of his outstanding scholastic achievement and excellence. Emilio is also a member of International High IQ Society for having an IQ of 137.

Emilio deals with clients young and old who experience neurodegenerative dilemma, specifically;
Learning Deficiencies, Underpar Cognitive Performance in School ,
Slow in school work, Poor visual, Poor reasoning ability, Poor auditory,Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Stroke, Learning Disabilities, ADHD/ADD, Depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Dementia and Mild Memory Loss.


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