Taming the Clognitive Mind

In a recent blog, I discussed “clognition”, a term for that rather vague collection of cognitive symptoms common with Parkinson’s disease. As yet there is no cure for “clognition” but that doesn’t mean it is completely unmanageable. To do so, we need to engage in “human engineering.”

Human engineering means that we address cognitive change by strategic planning rather than medications. PD-related cognitive change can be conceptualized as a kind of acquired attention deficit disorder (ADD). This means that the executive function coaches trained to help young people manage their ADD symptoms have a lot to offer folks with PD.

Coaches focus on training people with impaired executive function come up with ways to work around the areas of weakness. For example, if one organizes their day the night before, the problem of freezing cognitively can be minimized. Carrying and following a day planner is also helpful. Using a family member or some of the increasingly sophisticated smart phone apps to assist may be very helpful.

The key to better memory is active processing of information, beginning with how you take it in. If it doesn’t get in accurately, you won’t remember the information. Asking a speaker to repeat what they said may be all you need to remember better. Once you have information in place, rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse. This helps tuck it in a safe place where you can retrieve it later.

You can also do the things your neurologist suggests for general PD management. Exercise has been shown to be helpful for cognition. So are relaxation and meditation. The more you chase information, the faster it retreats.

These helpful hints come from my training in ADD management. They aren’t foolproof, but they will certainly help make the situation manageable.

As always, warmest regards,

Dr. Paul
The Parkinson's Coach

NOTE: Dr. Paul Short is neither an agent nor employee of ADPA or any of its affiliate organizations. The views expressed in this blog are the opinions of Dr. Short and do not represent the opinions or endorsement of APDA. The information contained on this site is for your general information only and is not intended as, or a substitution for, medical advice. You should also be aware that the information on this site may not reflect the most current medical developments, nor is it provided in the course of a physician - patient relationship. You should always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider or expert with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a health or medical condition. You should never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this site.

About the Author

Paul Short, PhD

Dr. Paul Short, The Parkinson's Coach, provides Internet-based coaching to individuals and famlies challenged by Parkinson's disease and helps them develop personalized plans for coping with the disease.