Cognitive Therapy in Alzheimer's – Neurology Example

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"Cognitive Therapy in Alzheimer's" is a worthy example of a paper on neurology. Jim has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’ s; therefore, he is suffering from impairment to his mental abilities and his cognitive reserve (Vaunce et al. , 2008), which is not sufficiently developed to compensate for the loss. Although Jim had led an active and healthy lifestyle up until now, the onset of Alzheimer’ s would require a vigorous application of specific cognitive therapeutic techniques if Jim is to cope with the debilitating effects of the disease. There are several strategies, and they can be combined together in various combinations and tailored to suit the specific needs of the person. To begin with, Jim, with the help of his wife, should employ the SOC, which stands for selection, optimization, and compensation (Vaunce et al. , 2008).

They should develop a list of tasks or goals that are expected of Jim, choosing mostly indoor and personal activities so that Jim can allocate more of his cognitive abilities to those tasks (Vaunce et al. , 2008). This is a selection. Optimization means employing means to perform those tasks to the best of his abilities, such as the use of mnemonics for memorizing the names of the people around him and their relations to him, or phone numbers (Vaunce et al. , 2008).

Compensation means to use aids and resources that a person would not normally use to enhance his cognitive abilities, such as sticker notes, checklists, tags, and other such aids (Vaunce et al. , 2008). As Jim is suffering from memory loss, the first exercise should be to develop this parameter and compensate for the loss. A most beneficial strategy with amazing results is that of spaced retrieval (Vaunce et al. , 2008).

This involves recalling a new piece of information, or pieces of that information, after they have been learned, after increasingly longer time periods until the information has been shifted into long-term memory (Vaunce et al. , 2008). To make it even easier for Jim, this technique could be used in combination with the strategy of chunking, which involves breaking the information into parts, and learning those parts separately one at a time, so that they can be rearranged in the brain and stored as a whole (Vance et al. , 2008).

Alternatively, spaced retrieval could be combined with the method of loci (Vaunce et al. , 2008). These methods could be used to memorize phone numbers, instructions, appointments, and medications (Vaunce et al. , 2008). This would help Jim’ s wife, Nancy, in her routine as well, since she would not be required to cut down on her own appointments for Jim all the time. Jim could be trained to process the information on a higher level (Vaunce et al. , 2008). This is another cognitive strategy that involves more concentration by the subject, thereby making more use of neuronal connections and transmitters (Vaunce et al. , 2008).

This results in stronger and more durable connections (Vaunce et al. , 2008), and this can also contribute towards compensation of the already damaged cognitive abilities of Jim. These, and other such cognitive remediation therapies, such as those to improve learning, memory, and speed of processing (Vaunce et al. , 2008), can be highly beneficial to decrease uncertainty for Jim and Nancy.  


Vance, D. E., Webb, N. M., Marceaux, J. C., Viamonte, S. M., Foote, A. W., & Ball, K.

K. (2008). Mental stimulation, neural plasticity, and aging: Successful aging through cognitive strategies. Journal of Neuroscience Nurses, 40(4), 241-249.

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