EXERCISE: COGNITIVE DOMAINS
What are those five cognitive domains again?

Whether you remembered one or all five of the cognitive domains without referring back to the section, let’s anchor that knowledge a little deeper into your memory. Let’s take the first letter of each word and create an acronym. This mnemonic (memory technique) is called “acronym association.” The acronym now represents the data to be remembered.

Memory
Executive functioning
Attention
Language
Sensorimotor functioning

The acronym is MEALS. With the MEALS acronym you now only have one piece of information to remember. Once you recall that one piece (the acronym), you’ll be triggered to remember all five pieces of information the acronym represents.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the functions of the brain, let’s move on to the anatomy.

The Brain's Vital Statistics:

Adult weight: about 3 pounds
Adult size: a medium cauliflower
Number of neurons: 100,000,000,000 (100 billion)
Number of synapses (the gap between neurons): 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion)

Inside the Human Brain:

The three main players:

1. Cerebral Hemispheres – where sensory information received from the outside world is processed; this part of the brain controls voluntary movement and regulates conscious thought and mental activity:

    1. accounts for 85% of brain’s weight
    2. consists of two hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum
    3. is covered by an outer layer called the cerebral cortex

2. Cerebellum – in charge of balance and coordination:

    1. takes up about 10% of brain
    2. consists of two hemispheres
    3. receives information from eyes, ears, and muscles and joints about body’s movements and position

3. Brain Stem – connects the spinal cord with the brain

    1. relays and receives messages to and from muscles, skin, and other organs
    2. controls automatic functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing

Cortical Dementia:

Deterioration that involves cortical structures within the brain include Alzheimer’s Disease and or frontotemporal dementia.
These are referred to as cortical dementias because they initially affect the outer layers of the brain (cortical). 
Marked by:

  1. Deterioration of Memory
  2. Language deterioration
  3. Disturbances in motor functions
  4. Perceptual disturbances

Affects:

  1. Medial temporal lobes
  2. Association cortices in the temporal, parietal and frontal lobes

THE FOUR LOBES:

The brain can be broken down into four main lobes. Starting in the front and moving clockwise, these are the frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes. The lists below describe the functions within each lobe.

The frontal lobe controls:

  • Initiation and inhibition of behaviors
  • Decision making and problem solving (executive functions)
  • Level of awareness and motivation
  • Language expression
  • Judgment and social behaviors
  • Some emotions
  • Attention and concentration
  • Movement and integration of motor functions with other senses

The parietal lobe controls:

  • Tactile perception and sense of touch
  • Processing of spatial information

The occipital lobe controls:

  • Visual input and perception
  • Reading perception

The temporal lobe controls:

  • Memory
  • Comprehension of language
  • Music appreciation

Before moving on, what are those five domains of cognitive functioning?

If using an acronym helped you to remember the five domains, you may want to try it again the next time you have to go to the store or need to remember something at work or school. 

Excerpts from “The Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Workbook” Mason, D.J. New Harbinger Publications

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