Know Your Brain Health Numbers!!

Hello again everyone:

In a recent article and press release, the American Academy of Neurology now recommends annual cognitive screening for adults 65+ as well as those with any cognitive symptoms. Cognitive symptoms include such things as brain fog, post-concussion issues, and more…especially any early life changes in cognitive function as these changes are known to precede dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Quality health care must include patients being able to know whether or not they have cognitive problems. Cognitive decline has several gradations:

·        MCI or mild cognitive impairment: this is when only you notice the changes and no one else does. It could be memory changes, changes in recall of procedures or location or why you walked into the room etc. If they are becoming frequent enough that you notice, then get checked.

·        Moderate cognitive impairment precedes dementia, and this is where others notice that your brain abilities are not the same anymore and your abilities to function normally as you did before are now no longer reliable.

·        Dementia is where the cognitive impairment is significantly and obviously interfering with your abilities to conduct a normal life and can put you and/or others in danger

Of clinical importance is that in the mild and moderate stages, it is much easier to improve or stabilize, so that the earlier you find out the better.

Lead author of the paper, Dr. Norman Foster stated: “The current quality measure (metrics) applies to all patients receiving neurological care including very common disorders such as headaches, sleep problems, dizziness, weakness, and numbness that primary care and other providers see most often,”…Foster also said the measures were developed by “a multidisciplinary stakeholder work group … recognizing that the findings would be relevant not only to neurologists but also to primary care or other physicians providing neurological care”.

Besides yearly cognitive assessments, the metrics track:

  • Cognitive and functional assessments for patients with mild cognitive impairment or memory loss
  • Disclosure of mild cognitive impairment diagnosis and counseling about treatment options
  • Assessment and treatment of factors contributing to mild cognitive impairment, including hearing or vision loss, illness, depression, sleep disturbance, or medication side effects
  • Avoidance of anticholinergic medications for patients with mild cognitive impairment
  • Education for care partners of patients with mild cognitive impairment

Bottom Line: At our office, we offer these very same cognitive evaluations plus additional ones that are more sensitive for early mild cognitive changes. If you are concerned for yourself or others, we have you covered for the proper evaluations so you can just request cognitive evaluations whenever you like. The earlier you start, the easier it is to assist you to maintain and/or grow your brain, so do not delay if you have ANY concerns!!

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