When memory dysfunction arises we want effective help. You know how it is. Memory disorders can arise after traumatic brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumours and after many other health challenges. This article introduces RehaCom as part of cognitive therapy for memory disorders.
We often talk about our "memory" as if it is one thing or process. In fact, science certainly doesn't really know all there is to know - you might hear some concepts commonly used such as "short-term" or so-called working memory along with the notion of long-term memory. We can make this complicated - But let's face it, most of us just want to use this essential faculty to allow us to live our lives to the full.
There is some good news though - We are living in exciting times and memory rehabilitation is likely to change and improve dramatically in the next few years.
When it comes to memory rehabilitation we can basically have Compensatory and Restitution approaches. Up until recently the Compensatory Approaches were most accepted for memory rehabilitation and these involve four main paths. These are
1) Enhancing learning to make use of residual memory skills via repetition, mind maps etc
2) Mnemonic methods - such as rhymes, mental retracing etc
3) External aids - such as lists, memory devices, notebooks, NeuroPage etc
4) Environmental cues - such as signposts, labels, coloured lines and doors etc
Restitution Approaches are now gaining emphasis although they are generally less well researched; partly because of the technical and ethical challenges of conducting robust trials of these approaches. Restitution ideas are about the potential for fundamental recovery - a notion that has gained interest with the discoveries around neuroplasticity. Restitution might come about due to
1) Stem Cell interventions, (e.g. Neural stem cells)
2) Pharmacological interventions (Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors)
3) Memory retraining
The first two approaches are experimental and challenging with great promise for the future. However, in the present, there are a number of Memory Retraining software packages available - some are focused on working memory, others on less focused aspects of memory and in general it is necessary to be cautious about what particular packages do - and for whom?
RehaCom's approach to memory retraining addresses dysfunction along six "dimensions". This is why it is important to have guidance from a qualified clinician. Rehabilitation shouldn't just pursue one approach. Typically a rehabilitation strategy will differ from person to person and include a number of steps to potentially minimise brain damage, regain lost skills and develop compensation strategies. RehaCom can deliver part of the necessary tools for recovery.
RehaCom's six memory focused training modules are as follows
1) Working memory - exercises the ability to memorise and manipulate information that is no longer available in the users external environment
2) Topological memory - the ability to memorise the position of remembered images
3) Physiognomic memory - the recognition of faces
4) Memory for words - trains the ability to recognise single words
5) Figural memory - trains the long-term verbal and non-verbal memory
6) Verbal memory - trains the short-term memory of verbal information
We will discuss each of these memory related modules in future articles. RehaCom's Screening Modules also address important aspects of memory and can give valuable and rapid pointers to memory deficits. If you can wait see http://www.rehacom.co.uk and request a demo disc or further information.