Why We Use Cambridge Brain Sciences to Evaluate Cognitive Function - Restoration Healthcare Blog

Why We Use Cambridge Brain Sciences to Evaluate Cognitive Function

By: Restoration Healthcare

Regardless of age, we all desire our cognitive ability to steadily increase over the course of our lives and not decline after reaching its peak. The ideal we seek is a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Many people believe that when we have all three, we have the potential for optimal health, fitness, and happiness, which is why monitoring cognitive function is, or should be, such a key component of any health management plan.

Case in point: A recent study conducted in Finland found that the physical and cognitive function of people the ages of 75 and 80 today are better than that of the same-aged people 30 years ago. Comparisons were based on both physical and cognitive performance and included muscle strength, walking speed, reaction times, verbal fluency, reasoning, and working memory. Researchers suggested that the improvements could be due to several factors, including better healthcare, education, and working conditions.

Brain Health Assessment

That said, it’s important to recognize that a temporary cognitive decline can be an early warning sign of illness and should be checked out by a medical professional. Memory lapses, brain fog, and difficulties related to thinking and concentration are common when you’re not feeling your best.

Here at Restoration Healthcare, we commonly see patients who report concerns about their cognitive function. Some worry that their cognitive issues may be a sign of early-onset Alzheimer’s or dementia, which is rarely the case. Far more common is an inflammatory condition resulting from a hidden infection, exposure to environmental toxins, autoimmunity, or some other underlying condition. With effective treatment, many of our patients’ cognitive functions returns to normal.

Assessing and Monitoring Cognitive Function

Like all medical practices should, we look at your cognitive function as an important diagnostic indicator and as a metric for monitoring improvement and evaluating treatment success. Over the course of your treatment, regular cognitive assessments provide us with valuable information that helps us with adjustments we may choose to make to your plan of care.

To help us evaluate cognitive function, we use the Cambridge Brain Sciences (CBS) brain health assessment service, which measures core elements of cognitive function, including memory, attention, reasoning, and verbal abilities. Researchers and healthcare practitioners across the globe use the CBS service to assess scientifically accurate measures of cognition. The service evaluates cognitive function and brain health to keep a close tab on any changes.

One or more tasks need to be completed for the assessment, with each divided into the categories of memoryand reasoning, as outlined below.

Memory

Task Outcome Measure Related Example Activities

MONKEY LADDER

Visuospatial Working Memory: The ability to temporarily hold information in memory and manipulate or update it based on changing circumstances or demands.

Juggling tasks and errands that you must complete through planning that includes a sequential order in the mind of that day’s activities.

SPATIAL SPAN

Spatial Short-Term Memory: The ability to temporarily store spatial information in memory.

Bringing to mind and then relating a set of orders to someone, based on directions you recently completed yourself.

TOKEN SEARCH

Working Memory: The ability to temporarily hold information in memory and manipulate or update it based on changing circumstances or demands.

Looking for your eyeglasses in a systematic fashion, mentally walking back through your most recent experiences within the house or office.

PAIRED ASSOCIATES

Episodic Memory: The ability to remember and recall specific events, paired with the context in which they occurred, such as identifying when and where an object was encountered.

Emptying bags of groceries, and then knowing where an item can be found when needed for food preparation.

Reasoning

Task Outcome Measure

Related Example Activities

ROTATIONS

Mental Rotation: The ability to efficiently manipulate mental representations of objects to make valid conclusions about what objects are and where they belong.

Knowing where the best underground parking lots are located in a large shopping mall and the stalls that are most conveniently located for the particular stores you want to visit.

POLYGONS

Visuospatial Processing: The ability to effectively process and interpret visual information, such as complex visual stimuli and relationships between objects.

Drawing in a way that accurately portrays the light, or creating an innovative web-based landing page, are tasks that demand precise thinking and reasoning

ODD ONE OUT

Deductive Reasoning: The ability to apply rules to information to arrive at a logical conclusion.

If the facts line up, there’s a good chance that something is accurate and true. By reading the most recent rulings on taxes, for example, you can safely determine if you are qualified for a deduction or a refund.

SPATIAL PLANNING

Planning: The ability to act with forethought and sequence behavior in an orderly fashion to reach specific goals, which is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior.

Successfully filling an open suitcase with all the items you’ll need for a trip or packing a picnic lunch with the fixings for a meal that won’t soon be forgotten.

What You Can Anticipate During a Cambridge Brain Sciences Assessment

The CBS Brain Health Assessment can be completed on a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer, using all of the most popular web browsers.

As for the test itself, here’s what to expect:

  • First, we schedule an appointment for a Restoration Healthcare staff member to administer your assessment.
  • The assessment — which is repeated every six weeks so we can follow your progress — is ordered by your Restoration Healthcare physician, and you can start and complete the assessment from the comfort of your home.
  • Next, and before starting, we will request that you to look over the instructions and details for taking your assessment, and we provide you with a time frame for completing it.
  • Note: You may take your time getting comfortable with the format by repeating the assessment’s interactive tutorial several times for your first task. That’s because we want to ensure that you are completely at ease before starting.
  • Finally, when you have completed the assessment’s short assignments, a report will be prepared and sent to our staff to review and discuss with you at your appointment.

Proper Preparation for Your CBS Brain Health Assessment

Our primary interest is that you be mentally prepared to take your assessment, and that means we want you to be relaxed and comfortable. This isn’t like a high school or college math exam. We just want you to relax and give it your best effort and be focused. It’s also important to keep in mind that the CBS Brain Health Assessment is “smart” — meaning, the difficulty increases as your performance improves. As a result, feeling challenged or a bit defeated when you finish is actually quite normal.

To that end, here is what we suggest you do in order to best prepare for and complete the assessment:

  • Remove distractions. Give your full attention to the tasks by making sure your surroundings are calm and quiet. That means shut down your personal devices, such as a smartphone, audio equipment, or television
  • Be consistent. Perform the tasks in the same environment each time. Try to get plenty of sleep the night before and stick to your regular daily routine.
  • Get familiar with the tasks before taking them on. The interactive tutorials help you understand what is expected of you during the assessment, and if you’re uncomfortable about the instructions, or you believe you’re unclear about something, take another tutorial until you are comfortable.
  • Settle down and settle in. The Cambridge Brain Sciences Brain Health Assessment doesn’t involve any physical exertion. It’s a simple assessment requiring the use of your mind. Adjust your chair, straighten your screen and shake your shoulders to remove any last vestiges of concern.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. You don’t study for a blood test, so don’t panic about the tasks associated with the assessment. It’s a measurement, not a multiple-choice exam. You’re probably going to answer a few questions incorrectly, but so what? The important thing is to try and stay focused for a few minutes. That’s all.

What Benefits Do I Derive from the CBS Brain Health Assessment

The CBS Brain Health Assessment is a simple, swift, and dependable means of accurately assessing cognitive health. The assessment’s tasks help us uncover clues to possible underlying physical conditions, and offers some other benefits, including:

  • In most cases, our patients discover that they are NOT experiencing accelerated cognitive decline.
  • The assessment can determine to what extent treatments are proving to be successful and can show which approaches to treatment work best and which should be discarded.
  • Early warning signs of cognitive decline give our physicians an opportunity to intervene much more quickly, offering you a better chance of slowing or even reversing that decline.
  • For those patients who are experiencing cognitive decline, this brain health assessment provides the vehicle for discussing and understanding core areas of cognition. These include short-term memory, reasoning, attention, and verbal ability.

If you feel as though you’re not as mentally sharp and vibrant as you once were or are concerned about the possibility of having dementia or Alzheimer’s, we encourage you to schedule a CBS Brain Health Assessment here at Restoration Healthcare. Chances are good that any cognitive problems are temporary and are associated with an underlying illness or imbalance that’s treatable. And if something more serious is going on, early intervention may result in a far better outcome.

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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post about using Cambridge Brain Sciences testing to evaluate one’s cognitive function, is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect current medical thinking or practices. No information contained in this post should be construed as medical advice from the medical staff at Restoration Healthcare, Inc., nor is this post intended to be a substitute for medical counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate medical advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed medical professional in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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