Cognitive rehabilitation: what is it about and what is it used for?

There are various reasons why a person can suffer severe cognitive impairment, leading science to develop other kinds of solutions. Among the best known methods is the cognitive rehabilitation. And that is why today we detail what it is about and what it is used for.

Definition of cognitive rehabilitation

When talking about cognitive rehabilitation, reference is made to a set of elaborate techniques to repair various brain functions. These, of course, have to do with cognition, such as attention, use of language or even memory. Which were damaged due to an injury. Although it could also be a cause of deterioration caused by degenerative diseases.

Thus, these problems can be caused by another class of traumatic injuries that generate some condition within the brain. Either external, as in the case of an impact, or internal, such as the formation of a thrombus. When it comes to diseases, dementias are often referred to, where Alzheimer's is the most serious variant of all.

Cognitive deterioration can also be generated by the presence of other diseases such as: Major depression, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Therefore, the effects of these diseases can be corrected with cognitive stimulation. Applied through the pertinent rehabilitation techniques.

What is its function?

The main function of cognitive rehabilitation is to slow down, stop or also reverse, the lack of brain functions. However, everything goes according to the means available to the medical center in charge. As is evident, the program that is applied will depend on the characteristics that the patient has, as well as the condition that he suffers.

It means that all cognitive rehabilitation procedures must be carried out individually. The specialist in charge will be the one who makes the decision about the pattern of techniques to be applied. Following the criteria that it deems appropriate so that the effect obtained is efficient, and improves the cognitive functions of the affected person.

Cognitive impairment

It is a condition that occurs through alterations in cognitive functioning. Where there are complications in different functions and executive capacities, as in the case of memory, attention, reasoning, among others. It does not usually happen in the same way in all people, since there are different levels or degrees of cognitive impairment.

The mildest problems could be difficulties in remembering objects, and the most serious could be that the person is not able to lead an autonomous life. It is also possible to classify cognitive impairment as irreversible or reversible. Taking into account its cause, these deteriorations could be recovered, but in other cases the deterioration is progressive.

What is cognitive rehabilitation based on?

The reasons these techniques work lie with the brain itself. Its own plasticity gives it the ability to rebuild its same functions due to certain injuries. So other neural areas will take over the tasks of the structures that suffered damage. Thus, by using various cognitive rehabilitation techniques, is intended to stimulate certain areas of the brain.

This is done so that they learn to carry out the functions that at another time were carried out by neuron circuits that have been damaged or have suffered alterations. It must be borne in mind that not all brain injuries affect cognitive functions. The brain is an organ that has a kind of cognitive reserve. Allowing it to be able to assume some changes in its structure, without causing any affection.

For the latter case, no cognitive rehabilitation exercises. Since the person, despite having gone through a brain problem, has their cognitive functions intact.

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Types of cognitive rehabilitation

They are methods of quite diverse qualities, some could be only exercises and others need some medical infrastructure. Some of the clearest examples are:

Games and activities notebook

Among the most prominent cognitive rehabilitation techniques is this, since it is efficient and simple. Using exercises through an activity notebook, as if it were an interactive game. With regard to notebooks, it is possible to find them of various types taking into account the cognitive function that must be repaired, as in the case of memory.

It is of great importance to choose an exercise book of the appropriate level for the patient to be rehabilitated. Levels below your capacity will not have any effect, and if it is too high it could lead to great frustration. The latter could be generating counterproductive effects.

On the other hand, there is a wide variety of games that are applied in this technique, such as puzzles or gaming platforms on a computer. The idea is to choose those activities that represent an adequate challenge, according to the abilities that the person has.

Electric stimulation

It is one of the most invasive cognitive rehabilitation techniques. The real name for this method is Direct Current Transcranial Stimulation. As its name implies, it is based on applying electrical current to specific parts of the brain. With the aim of stimulating those areas to get the damage to be reversed.

However, this is a practically new technique and there are still some contraindications about the results that are obtained. Because of this, more research will be needed to get a better conclusion from this method.


Compared to the previous case, this is a much more complex method. Since it consists of some devices by which it is possible to connect to the brain of a person through a computer. Measuring specific parameters and can even be altered using electrical impulses.

It is the most complex way to carry out cognitive rehabilitation, allowing the development of certain programs to work on the brain damage suffered by the patient. Assuming a huge advantage over other methods that could be more global. Obviously there are also drawbacks, especially due to the devices required to carry out this measure.

Therefore, neurotechnology can only be used in very specific places, and it can be used by people who have the necessary resources. Being the only way in which an exclusive treatment like this can be performed. Fortunately, advances in technology advance exponentially, reducing production costs a bit.


Psychology and mind

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