How The Brain Works

Delirium and its Interrelationship with Dementia

As a mental health practitioner working with people over the age of 65,  I’ve come across people who’ve been discharged from general hospitals with a newly diagnosed dementia who make a full recovery recover soon after discharge.  This might seem slightly odd given that dementia is a degenerative disease.   Miracle working is not at play…

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How Long Is A Piece of String?: The Progression of Dementia

A few years ago I snapped the cruciate ligament at the back of my knee in a skiing accident.  After it was repaired  I underwent a lengthy period of rehab.  My physiotherapist explained the  regime that he’d devised for me in some detail.  He make it very clear that I could not speed up the process and I had to…

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Memory and Emotion: A Reflection

For a long time I’ve suspected that memories of people with dementia are sustained by those attached to strong emotions.    For instance I was working with a lady with advanced Alzheimer’s disease who struggled even  to remember the names of family members.  She’d had strong connections to a country where there had been a major disaster…

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Watching Someone Make a Cup of Tea: How Occupational Assessment Can Unpick Problems For People with Cognitive Difficulties

As an occupational therapist working with people experiencing problems with cognition I’ll analyse the activities that form part of their everyday lives in order to give me clues about what is going on for them.  Sometimes this will form part of a discussion.  I might ask the person, or a person that knows them well,  questions about what they…

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The Nun Study

David Snowdon’s Aging with Grace:  What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Living Longer, Healthier and More Meaningful Lives  has been on my reading list for some time now.    So I took it away with me on my travels this summer.  I’ll admit that, on first glance, a book published in 2001 which describes the early…

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Squirreling It Away: Cognitive Reserve and Dementia

It is common knowledge that squirrels don’t eat all their nuts at once.  They store them away.  Those that have stockpiled the most food are likely to weather the storm for longer when leaner times set in.    We can think of brain function in the same way.   According to the theory of cognitive…

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Neuroplasticity: Rewiring for the brain with dementia.

Neuroplasticity is the term used to describe the way that the brain can adapt during a person’s lifetime.  For example, in response to injury caused by trauma such as an accident or a stroke, the brain can undergo ‘rewiring’.   I’m not an expert in neurology  so won’t be going into  detail abut the physiological processes…

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Forgetting is Normal

Forgetfulness is an entirely normal function of the brain.   I tell the people that I’m working with that If we remembered every single thing that has happened to us, or all that we’ve seen and heard, it is a medical fact that our heads would explode.  Okay, I might be joking but, in saying this, I’m trying to get a…

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