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What is cognition?

After you have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury in Bozeman, you may hear your healthcare providers begin to throw around the term “cognitive loss.” This refers specifically to any deficits in cognition that you may now be suffering from. What is cognition? The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center defines it as your ability to understand information, choose appropriate actions (while understanding the consequences), and then remembering your decisions and actions as well as thoughts used to justify them later on. It is these cognitive deficits that you may cause you the greatest challenges as you attempt to resume your normal life.

Cognitive issues that can hinder your ability to return to activities such as your career may include:

  •          Decreased attention span
  •          Problems with processing information
  •          Poor memory retention
  •          Organizational issues

Challenges such as these may make continuing in your career or functioning well in social situations seem nearly impossible.

Fortunately, many view cognition as being akin to a muscle group, in that you may be able to exercise and strengthen it over time. Playing simple memory games can help boost your attention and teach yourself how to retain information. Re-reading important documents and then making your own written notes helps to engage yourself more in information processing and make up for gaps in understanding that may appear by simply glancing through things. When starting such activities, it is recommended that you remove all distractions and break tasks down into simple steps. As you become more adept at your cognitive exercises, you may consider adding background noises and external distractions to better simulate a real-world environment.

Activities aimed at building up cognition will often be introduced by a speech or occupational therapist, whose care may be as vital as any healthcare provider participating in your recovery

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