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Cognitive deficits


Cognitive deficit refers to any kind of impairment to cognitive performance or thought process. It may refer to something as broad as mental retardation or something narrow like dyslexia. Loss of higher reasoning, forgetfulness, learning disabilities, concentration difficulties, decreased intelligence are all types of cognitive deficit. Cognitive deficit may include drug induced conditions as well, temporary or long term. The term is most often used to describe global deficits like mental retardation while the term learning disability would be preferred for specific deficits in cognitive functioning, like dyslexia.

Cognitive deficits can also be congenital (present at birth) or acquired through environmental influences are varied as brain injury or chemical exposure or mental illness at any point in one’s life.

Some congenital causes might include physiological ones like chromosome abnormalities or genetic syndromes. Maternal malnutrition, prenatal drug or alcohol exposure, lead poisoning, low blood sugar, neonatal jaundice, hypothyroidism, and complications due to prematurity are other examples. Child abuse and shaken baby syndrome can also contribute to cognitive deficits.

Later in life, contributors might include side effects of disease therapies, malnutrition, autism, metabolic conditions, and lupus. As we age, conditions like stroke, dementia, vitamin deficiencies and Alzheimer’s can lead to impaired cognitive functioning.

Head injury or brain infection may also lead to some degree of impairment.

In some cases the condition is reversible. For some, sobriety cures the condition. For others therapy and medical intervention will subdue the effects.

If you have a sudden onset of cognitive impairment combined with a high fever, seek medical attention immediately to avoid any long term damage. Neck stiffness, rash, head injury, changes in consciousness, severe nausea and fruity breath are also symptoms that in combination should be taken seriously and treated immediately.

Source: WebMD, BetterMedicine, Medscape

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