Memory in Children: Do Games Help Improve Memory in Children

Memory in Children: Games Help Improve Memory in Children

By Crystal Tsui

There are many types of memory; episodic, working, procedural, sensory, and so on. But for children, the most important type of memory that they should be exercising is working memory. This is because working memory, a form of short term memory, is where information is consciously stored in the mind at any given moment. We use working memory to be able to remember something long enough to do something with the information.

How does this apply to children? Well, children with better working memory can:

  • Apply previously learned information to new situations
  • Stay focused and on-task
  • Follow complex and multi-step directions

Their attitudes change and they are better-behaved and less likely to daydream and act out during class.

A study in Japan studied eight year old students completing a 10 minute task every day for two months. The students had to recall the second number in a four number sequence and the results showed that there was a 12% increase on their IQ scores than the control group. The study also reports the results on adults had the same effect, although not as dramatic. In conclusion, yes, memory games do improve working memory in children.

Here is a link to an article that lists a bunch of games you can play with children and it includes directions for each game. https://childhood101.com/short-term-memory-games/

If you or someone you know has trouble with attention, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citations:

https://childhood101.com/short-term-memory-games/

https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/working-memory-games/

https://www.health.com/syndication/healthy-woman-collapses-rare-brain-condition-icu

http://www.sweetadditions.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Memory-Games.jpg

 

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Sleep: The Different Stages of Sleep

Sleep: The Different Stages of Sleep

By Crystal Tsui

Have you ever wondered why at certain times of the night you tend to be more alert and other times you dream, unaware of your surroundings? That’s because there are different stages of sleep, more specifically five stages.

  • Stage 1
  • Stage 2
  • Stage 3
  • Stage 4
  • REM (rapid eye movement)

How do we determine what stage is what? Sleep researchers use an electroencephalogram (EEG), is a method used to monitor and record electric cortical brain activity, and other instruments to help determine the stages.

In Stage 1, researchers found that this cycle is the lightest sleep. On the EEG, the frequency is slower than when we are awake. Physically, our muscles relax and our breathing occurs at a regular rate.

In Stage 2, we are less likely to be awakened. Our heart rate and temperature decreases as our body is preparing to go into a deep sleep.

In Stage 3 and 4, we begin our deep sleep. It’s harder to be awakened because at this point our body becomes less responsive to outside stimuli. In these stages, our body starts to restore itself, stimulate growth and development, boosts immune function, and builds energy for the next day.

In REM, dreaming occurs, our eyes quickly jerk in different directions, heart rate and blood pressure increase, and our breathing become fast and shallow. This stage generally lasts up to an hour and begins about 90 mins after you initially fall asleep. This is an important stage because our brain starts to consolidate all the information we have learned during the day into our long-term memory.

In children, one cycle can last up to 50-60 mins and increases to 1-1.5 hours in adults. It is advised:

  • Babies (0 months – 11 months) get 14-18 hours
  • Toddlers (1-5 yrs) get 12-13 hours
  • Children (6-10 yrs) get 8.5- 11 hours
  • Pre-teens and teenagers (11-17) get 8-10 hours
  • Adults (18-65+) get 7-9 hours of sleep

If you or someone you know has trouble sleeping, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citation:

https://img.timesnownews.com/story/1535107553-sleep.PNG?d=600×450

https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/stages-of-sleep/

https://www.sleep.org/articles/what-happens-during-sleep/

Parkinson’s Disease (PD): Psychological Effects Including Depression

Parkinson’s Disease (PD): Psychological Effects Including Depression

By Crystal Tsui

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease, in which symptoms, such as movement and depression, progressively worsen over time. This disease affects 50% more men than women around the age of 60. However, some individuals can have symptoms that begin before the age of 50. Parkinson’s disease occurs when the neurons in the substania nigra, the part of the brain that is responsible for movement, become impaired or die. These neurons produce dopamine which is involved with movement and when those neurons die, dopamine decreases and causes motor deficits.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Tremors (shaking) of extremities, head, and jaw
  • Stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Slowness of movement (bradykinesias)
  • Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls

Some non-motor symptoms include:

  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Sleep behavior disorders
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Skin problems
  • Urinary problems
  • Low blood pressure

Individuals may develop what is called Parkinsonian gait. They have a tendency to lean forward, walk in small hurried steps, and have reduced swinging of the arms. Along with motor symptoms, depression is known to be one of the most prevalent psychological symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. Most of the reason is due to the chemistry in the brain, decreased levels of dopamine.

There are currently no medical tests to definitively detect or diagnose Parkinson’s disease however medication trials can help diagnose PD. If the individuals’ symptoms improve with the help of medication, such as L-dopa (levodopa) or carbidopa, it is a most likely the individual has PD.

If you or a loved one notice any of these symptoms, it is best to see a healthcare professional to talk about treatment plans and options. Symptoms and quality of life can be improved with early intervention.

For more information on Parkinson’s Disease:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
1-800-352-9424 (toll-free)
braininfo@ninds.nih.gov
www.ninds.nih.gov

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
1-800-708-7644 (toll-free)
www.michaeljfox.org

Parkinson’s Foundation
1-800-473-4636 (toll-free)
helpline@parkinson.org
www.parkinson.org

If you or someone you know is suffering from cognitive impairment from Parkinson’s disease, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citations:

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/parkinsons-disease

https://parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/what-is-parkinsons

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjVnpuN46ziAhVjmuAKHZW4BrkQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FParkinson%2527s_disease&psig=AOvVaw1Kjtn1O1nWaZmuCezNinLW&ust=1558533088730712

Sleep Disorder: Narcolepsy

Sleep Disorder: Narcolepsy

By Crystal Tsui

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that affects daytime activities. It is characterized by overwhelming drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. Narcolepsy affects both men and women equally in roughly 1 in 2,000 people and can be passed down genetically, but the risk of a parent passing this disorder to a child is very low. Symptoms usually start to develop between the ages of 10- 30 years old and worsen for the first few years. The symptoms of narcolepsy will remain constant throughout life.

Some symptoms of narcolepsy include:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Hallucinations
  • Episodes of cataplexy (partial or total loss of muscle control that is often triggered by strong emotions such as laughter and joy)

Other symptoms include:

  • Transition to REM sleep is quick, usually 15 minutes
  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Automatic behavior (falling asleep while doing an automatic task, like driving, and continue performing task after falling asleep. When waking up and not remembering what they did)

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that seriously disrupts everyday life. Most common being:

  • Stigma of the condition- others might view individuals with this disorder as lazy or lethargic
  • Physical harm- increased risk of being in a car accident if a sleep attack occurs when driving
  • Low metabolism- individuals may be more likely to be overweight

Unfortunately, the exact cause is still unknown and there is no cure for narcolepsy. However, medications (stimulants), lifestyle changes, and support from others can help manage symptoms. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from narcolepsy and need help adjusting, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/narcolepsy

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcolepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375497

https://www.o2pulmonary.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/narcolepsy-300×194.jpg

 

Early Signs of Alzheimer’s: What to Look Out For

Early Signs of Alzheimer’s: What to Look Out For

By: Lauren Hernandez

Alzheimer’s is a specific and extremely common type of dementia that plagues our elderly population. Alzheimer’s is a slow, progressive disease of the brain that causes short term and long term memory problems, confusion, as well as severely slow functioning issues such as disorientation and visual and decision making difficulties that interfere with daily tasks. People who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are typically 65 and older.

Here are a few early signs of Alzheimer’s:

  • Forgetting recent, short term information
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Behavioral/ personality changes
  • Difficulty communicating with others
  • Hiding and hoarding items
  • Visual difficulties
  • Decision difficulties
  • Disorientation
  • Misplacing things
  • Loss of initiative or withdrawal from work activities

If you observe these signs in yourself, a loved one or friend, it is suggested to seek medical and behavioral treatment right away. It is important to be informed, plan for the future, and make some lifestyle changes that create a safe environment. Studies have shown, it is important to create routines and maintain good physical and mental health through physical exercise and managing stress. Partaking in these types of activities may decrease symptoms.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with Alzheimer’s, please contact your primary care physician or our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.activebeat.com/your-health/6-most-common-early-signs-of-alzheimers/7/

https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers#basics

https://www.medicinenet.com/alzheimers_disease_causes_stages_and_symptoms/article.htm

Image Source: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&id=04105A0A38DCEDEEB119A099F64434F7D50C6F89&thid=OIP.EW5yiFeyBL7zORHG0cZqiAHaHa&mediaurl=https%3A%2F%2F1.bp.blogspot.com%2F-m2cfm1zqWqo%2FWhbcgU7NaDI%2FAAAAAAAA4rY%2FINlaNsI5q-Y3KLvKWCXgqj4acMNs_2q1wCLcBGAs%2Fs1600%2FBrain%2BNeuroscience.jpg&exph=919&expw=919&q=alzheimers&selectedindex=2&ajaxhist=0&vt=0&eim=1,2,6

 

Dementia: Early Signs

By Dara Kushnir

You may find it difficult determining whether you or someone you know is experiencing typical age-related changes or early symptoms of dementia. Dementia affects a person’s language and reasoning abilities, communication, and focus. Remembering where you last left your keys or forgetting an appointment once in a while does happen and does not necessarily mean you have dementia.

Being aware of early signs of dementia can help you figure out if you would need to schedule an appointment with a neurologist for further testing. A person may experience:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Individuals with dementia may be able to remember an event twenty years ago, but have trouble remembering what they did earlier in the day or important dates. They repeatedly ask for the same information and begin to rely on electronic devices or family members for reminders. While those who are going through typical age-changes do forget things, they are later able to remember them or retrace their steps.
  2. Difficulty completing familiar tasks. As individuals with dementia get older, they occasionally need help with tasks such as working a microwave. Those with dementia often have difficulty with daily tasks such as driving to a familiar place or remembering how to do a favorite craft.
  3. Confusion with time and place. Individuals with dementia may not recognize landmarks or places that were familiar. Individuals in the later stages of dementia can understand what is happening currently, but not tomorrow or yesterday. Individuals with early stages of dementia may have difficulty remembering what day, date, or even year it is.
  4. Poor judgement. Everyone makes a bad decision once in a while. Those with dementia can experience changes in decision-making, which can lead to bad financial decisions such as spending an excessive amount of money on clothing or food. They may also pay less attention to hygiene.
  5. Changes in mood and personality. Individuals with dementia can become confused, suspicious, frustrated, or angry in situations where they are out of their comfort zone or even at familiar places, at home, or with friends. These changes go beyond feeling annoyed toward a disruption in routine.
  6. Problems with speaking or writing. Individuals may find it hard to follow conversations or storylines, struggle to find the right words, or even say the same thing in a short timespan.
  7. Withdrawal from work or social activities. Due to the changes individuals start to experience, they may withdraw themselves from social activities, work, or hobbies. They may find it difficult to remember how to interact in social settings or complete tasks.

Source:
https://homecareassistance.com/blog/5-early-signs-of-dementia-that-may-surprise-you
https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs
https://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/early-warning-signs
(image) https://www.jeffreysterlingmd.com/tag/dementia/

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from dementia, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Advice for Dementia: Support for Caregivers

By Dara Kushnir

Caring for someone with dementia can be demanding and mentally exhausting, but it is also important to maintain and strengthen your relationship. Individuals with dementia experience memory problems, impaired judgment, difficulty communicating, and confused thinking more severe than normal aging. In the most severe stage, they are completely dependent on others for even their basic needs, such as hygiene and food. Therefore, finding ways to handle the challenges caregivers often face is essential so both you as a caregiver and the person who has dementia enjoy spending time together.

  1. Know your limits – As much as you want to be able to manage everything, you are only one person. Remember to focus on what’s important and don’t be too hard on yourself about things you can’t manage. Taking breaks allows you to reflect and relax.
  2. Coping with changes – It can be difficult to see the person you care for struggling with things they used to be able to do. It is important to focus on what they can do and support these things rather than what they can’t do.
  3. Address difficult emotions – you may feel isolated, angry, frustrated, or even guilty with your situation. These are very common reactions when caring for someone with dementia and should not make you feel shame. Figuring out how to deal with these feelings is vital though, because they can have a negative impact on your wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of the recipient of your care. Just being there and caring for your loved one helps them immensely.
  4. Be in the moment – Acceptance is a reoccurring, crucial part of caring for a person with dementia. Those with significant memory loss may not be able to discuss things they used to do or participate in certain activities. They can still enjoy things directly in front of them such as looking at photographs and playing simple games, and your company.
  5. Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. Involving family and friends or voluntary organizations can provide you with support and reduce your stress. It may also help to talk about dementia to others to help them understand what you are doing and suggest ways others can help.

Source: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/help-dementia-care/caring-for-person-dementia
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/managing-your-memory/201812/seek-joy-when-caring-those-dementia
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/managing-your-memory/201811/8-principles-communicating-people-dementia
(image) https://www.insights.uca.org.au/features/changing-the-way-we-talk-about-dementia

If you or someone you know needs help coping with the dementia of a family member, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Dementia: 5 Facts You Need to Know

By Stephanie Osuba

Everyone fears that they, or their family members, will fall victim to a degenerative neurological disease when they age. Dementia is considered a syndrome, a series of symptoms that often appear together, and is caused by damage to the brain cells. Symptoms include memory loss, cognitive impairment, and diminishing language. Here are five facts that you need to know about dementia.

  1. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia; they aren’t interchangeable: As stated above, dementia is a syndrome and more of an umbrella term for other types of dementia, like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and vascular dementia. Different types of dementia correlate with different types of brain damage. Alzheimer’s is mainly a result of abnormally high protein levels in and around brain cells that inhibit communication between them. This eventually leads to the death of the nerve cells and loss of brain tissue. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.
  2. Dementia is not just a “memory loss” disease: Dementia also affects a wide range of cognition processes including: learning, language, executive and motor function, attention, and social cognition. For example, two thirds of diagnoses of Alzheimer’s are given to women primarily because they exhibit the symptom of memory loss more than men.
  3. Cognitive decline doesn’t always lead to dementia: Memory and other cognitive issues can be a result of other things such as: delirium, mild cognitive impairment, or normal changes due to age. According to a study done by the Mayo Clinic, even mild cognitive impairment only lead to dementia in 29% of cases within the next five years.
  4. Not all types of dementias are progressive: Underlying causes such as vitamin B12 deficiency, underactive thyroid syndrome, and normal pressure hydrocephalus can be reversed with treatment. Even medications like antidepressants, narcotics, and antihistamines can have dementia-like side effects.
  5. Lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of dementia: Exercise has proven to be a great defense to cognitive decline through increased heart rate and blood flow to the brain. Maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in social activities is also a huge help.

 

Source: Ph.D., M. C. (2017, December 7). 5 Facts You Need to Know About Dementia. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fifth-vital-sign/201712/5-facts-you-need-know-about-dementia 

If you or someone you know needs help coping with the dementia of a family member, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.