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Goodbye Brain Fog! Strategies to Get Thinking Back on Track

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In this webinar:
Dr. Heather Palmer, Director of Memory Care for Amica Senior Lifestyles and the Founder and Director of Cognitive Rehabilitation for Maximum Capacity Inc, discussed the effects of cancer-related brain fog. Changes in the ability to think are a common, yet frustrating and life-altering side effect of cancer. It is called Brain Fog and in addition to impacting cognitive function (memory, language, multi-tasking, etc.) it can also affect relationships and general psychological well-being. Fortunately, there are many simple, sustainable and effective strategies that can be used to help overcome the fogginess. In this overview session, we discussed the common symptoms, review possible causes and learn some solutions.

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Goodbye Brain Fog! Strategies to Get Thinking Back on Track

  1. 1. GoodBye Brain Fog: Strategies to Help Get Your Thinking Back on Track Heather Palmer, PhD National Director, Cognitive Well-Being, Amica Senior Lifestyles Founder and Director of Cognitive Rehabilitation, Maximum Capacity April 25, 2019 © 2019 Maximum Capacity Inc. No part of these materials may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from Maximum Capacity
  2. 2. Canadian Cancer Survivor Network Contact Info 1750 Courtwood Crescent, Suite 210 Ottawa, ON K2C 2B5 Telephone / Téléphone : 613-898-1871 E-mail: jmanthorne@survivornet.ca or info@survivornet.ca Website: www.survivornet.ca Twitter: @survivornetca Facebook: www.facebook.com/CanadianSurvivorNet Instagram: @survivornet_ca Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/survivornetwork/
  3. 3. Objectives 1. Acknowledge cancer related brain fog exists. 2. Identify the symptoms 3. Review possible causes 4. Identify solutions 5. Improve how you think, feel and function
  4. 4. What is Cancer Related Brain Fog? Commonly referred to as ‘chemo-fog’ and ‘chemo brain’ But: 1) chemotherapy is not the only cause, 2) cancer is not the only cause of brain fog. • It is a constellation of cognitive changes that come about as a result of some aspect of the cancer experience.
  5. 5. memory attention and concentration
  6. 6. memory attention and concentration
  7. 7. memory spatial skills motor function and coordination attention and concentration
  8. 8. Causes of Brain Fog
  9. 9. Psychosocial Constructs
  10. 10. What Do We Know?
  11. 11. fMRI Twin Study (Ferguson et al 2007)
  12. 12. What are the solutions? BRAIN FOG Understand it! Prevent it! Treat it! Pharmacological Cognitive Rehabilitation
  13. 13. Neuroplasticity and the Brain
  14. 14. Neuroplasticity and Cognitive Rehabilitation 1. Repair existing pathways 2. Build new pathways 3. Be aware, plan, prepare
  15. 15. Task Management Psychological Well-Being Memory Optimal Cognition
  16. 16. MEMORY
  17. 17. Levels of Processing 0 20 40 60 80 %ofWords Recognized Letters Rhyme Sentence
  18. 18. How do we process information more deeply? External Strategies Lists Notes Calendars Timers Routines and Habits External Self Talk Internal Strategies Categorization Story Making Visual Imagery Association Motor Movement Spaced Retrieval
  19. 19. Tool Box
  20. 20. TASK MANAGEMENT
  21. 21. Task Management The goal of task management is to: 1. Reduce feelings of overwhelm 2. Improve management of small and large daily tasks 3. Promote a ‘present-minded’ state as opposed to an ‘absent-minded’ one. 4. Reduce susceptibility to distractions and interference
  22. 22. STOP CLARIFY SIMPLIFY MONITOR
  23. 23. PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING
  24. 24. Self Fulfilling Prophecy Loss of control Incompetent feelings Reduction in activities Avoidance of challenges Pessimism Depression/anxiety In control Capable Independent Solutions Oriented Optimistic Mental Clarity
  25. 25. Cancer Related Brain Fog: Summary • The condition exists. • The symptoms may vary from person to person. • The most common domains affected are memory and executive function skills. • Chemotherapy is not likely the only cause. • Currently there are no medications available that are designed to treat it or prevent it. • However, the brain does have the capacity to grow, recover and develop new connections between brain regions to compensate for areas of weakness or damage. • Neurocognitive rehabilitation programs can help.
  26. 26. Thank You! © 2019 Maximum Capacity Inc. No part of these materials may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from Maximum Capacity Inc.
  27. 27. Canadian Cancer Survivor Network Contact Info 1750 Courtwood Crescent, Suite 210 Ottawa, ON K2C 2B5 Telephone / Téléphone : 613-898-1871 E-mail: jmanthorne@survivornet.ca or info@survivornet.ca Website: www.survivornet.ca Twitter: @survivornetca Facebook: www.facebook.com/CanadianSurvivorNet Instagram: @survivornet_ca Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/survivornetwork/

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