OhioHealth Medical Minute: Cognitive Slip
With the holiday season already upon us, it's that time of year again for presents, home-cooked food and spending time with family. Though it can be easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the festivities, it's also a time of year that can be challenging for some of us, especially regarding our cognitive function.
Adel Aziz, MD, a cognitive neurologist at OhioHealth, talks more about cognitive slips and how we can be on the lookout for them this holiday season in this OhioHealth Medical Minute.
MT: “All right, it's the holiday season. A lot of people are excited about that, but it’s also a time when we want to start thinking about cognitive brain function. What’s going on? First, let’s talk big picture. What is cognitive decline for folks as they age?”
AA: “As we get older, our brain gets smaller, and that shrinkage in size affects our cognitive ability, ability to multi-task, ability to deal with details and our ability to remember most of the memories that used to come easier to us. Also, we might struggle a little bit with our words. Commonly, most of us start recognizing tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. We’re trying to recall a name or a word, and it doesn’t come smoothly to us, but it eventually comes back. That’s normal.”
MT: “Now with the holiday season a lot of people are spending more time with folks that maybe they don’t see throughout the year. What should people be looking out for to determine whether somebody might be having some of that cognitive slip that we talked about.”
AA: “If there are traditions and routine in the family, you will see how they struggle in conducting or carrying that routine. If there is decoration of the house, if there is cooking, if there is preparing certain food, or just things they recognize that Mom or Dad or a family friend are not able to do the same way or the way they used to. These are the things that usually happen. As someone looking at the person from a different perspective, keep in mind that people have their own anxiety, so when it comes to this situation, if we don’t see our Mom or Dad or family member for a while, we might feel a little bit responsible or anxious. We might add to the situation because we don’t know how to handle the situation.”
MT: “So now that we know how to identify it, what should we do if we notice that? Who should we be reaching out to, and who should we be connecting our loved one with?”
AA: “It’s important to push for evaluation. Evaluation can start with the primary physician, so that’s the first stop. There are a few things that can be done by the primary physician. Neurologists and cognitive neurologists are very helpful here, especially with a specialty-type situation, and they can give you a definitive diagnosis of what’s going on.”
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