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Recovering from brain damadge

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Mon Aug 9 22:55:15 EST 1999

In <37ae6378.3045792 at news.earthlink.net> jasonb5 at earthlink.net (jay)
>I sustained a head injury and it affected my attension, concentration,
>and cognitive ability.
>My reading ability is significantly slower than before. It's
>frustrating having to read sentences over again just to get the
>Does anyone know of mental excercises or anything else that can
>improve cognitive performance?
>Thank you.

Much depends on level of severity: there might be different
recommendations for mild, moderate, and severe damage.  Also relevant
is the type of damage--diffuse injury or focal?  If the latter, where
and/or what specific functions were affected (what you describe are not
"specific" in the sense I mean).

Have you had a comprehensive neuropsychologicl exam?  BY A
NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST? (this may seem redundant, but unfortunately, it is

Where are you located?  Is there a rehab hospital with a cognitive
rehab program near you? (were you hospitalized initially? for how long?
 was a referral to a rehab center made?)

I am not a believer in "exercises" to improve concntration or memory,
but a rehab specialist WITH full information (neuropsych exam) may be
able to suggest ways of dealing with problems you complain of--indeed,
may evan be able to clarify what problems NEED to be dealtt with
(Muriel Lezak, a speaker at the NYNG conference on treatment I
organized this spring, spoke on "Memory problems which are not problems
with memory; how to recognize and treat them")

Sometimes these problems involve greater vulnerability to "mental
fatigue" after head injury, and some improvement can be achieved by
recognizing this and pacing one's work accordingly.  Learn to work at a
pace you can comfortably maintain.  If you start making mistakes after
30 minutes of rapid, sustained mental work, take a break BEFORE 30
minutes (and/or work at slower pace).

Sometimes (Muriel emphasized this) one needs to coach other people to
speak more slowly, use shorter sentences, repeat, ask YOU to repeat the
message back, etc.--may be slow information processing, not poor

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
New York Neuropsychology Group

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