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Welcome to A WiserMind's Glossary of terms. Our goal is not to be the definitive source for defininitions of terms but merely to provide a point of reference when reading through our website.  Because much of what we talk about on A WiserMind is of a clinical nature the terms can sometimes be unfamiliar, a little hard to pronounce and sometimes confusing.  In situations where the term is very complex or perhaps filled with subtle nuances, we'll provide you with links to additional information.  Please do not use the information on this page to treat or diagnose any condition.  If you have medical or emotional concerns, you should seek immediate professional help from a local, licensed professional.

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Agnosia: Agnosia, means a loss of knowledge.  It characterized by a loss of the ability to recognize objects, familiar or famous people, sounds or smells.   There may or may or may not be additional loss of memory.  It is also possible that a person my recognize an object by name but not know what the object is used for, as example, a person with agnosia my recognize a shovel by name but may not be able to describe its use. Top of Page Alzheimer's disease: Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia present in the world today.  It is characterized by the presence of plaques and tangles within the brain.  As of 2009, the diagnosis of Alzheimer's can only be conclusively proven by a post-mortem analysis (an autopsy) of the brain.  During life, a diagnosis is considered a "probable diagnosis" based on clinical observations and assessments conducted by a trained professional either through personal interaction or through the review of brain images which reveal brain atrophication (shrinkage or wasting away).  There are new imaging techniques using fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or CT (computer tomography) that researchers hope will be able to provide a more definitive diagnosis for Alzheimer's disease.  But, as of late 2009, the reality is that sometimes an Alzheimer's diagnosis is arrived at only after all other probable causes of signs and symptoms have been ruled out, leaving the family with an uncertain sword hanging over their heads.   While Alzheimer's disease is common, it is not an inevitable or normal part of aging.  Visit the services page to learn how and when Brain Activation Therapy™ may improve the quality of life for individuals and families living with Alzheimer's. Top of Page Aphasia: Aphasia refers to the inability to either use or understand language.  It may be used to describe either a total or partial impairment of language.  It literally means "no speech," but a person living with aphasia may be able to speak but not write, or vice versa. It may even present in such specific situations as a person being able to sing, but not speak.  It broadly refers to impairment of language, not necessarily the mode of communication. Top of Page

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BAT: see Brain Activation Therapy Top of Page Brain Activation Therapy™: Brain Activation Therapy is the trademarked name for the clinical protocol, service and training created by A WiserMind to help family caregivers, psychotherapists, and dementia care professionals to improve the quality of life and cognitive function of some individuals living with the cognitive symptoms of dementia. Top of Page

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Dementia: Dementia is a broad medical term used to indicate that a person is not thinking in a normal way.  Dementia can be demonstrated by an inability to recall memories, either long-term or short-term; a level of confusion related to time, place or personal aquaintances; alterations in behavior; changes in logic and reasoning skills; difficulty with language skills or a decline in other cognitive processes.  Specifically, dementia is not a disease, but is instead a set of mental symptoms which is caused by an underlying disease. It is an umbrella term which is associated with several diseases including: Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Multiple Schlerosis, Vascular dementia, Alcohol induced dementia, HIV related dementia, Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) (also called Dementia pugilistica (DP), Punch Drunk), plus other underlying diseases and pathologies. Top of Page

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Vascular dementia: Our brains are heavy consumers of our blood flow, and are very sensitive to reductions or blockages in blood flow. Vascular dementia is a decline in cognitive function caused by problems in the blood vessels that restricts the amount of blood being provided to the brain. It is the second most common cause of dementia in Europe and the United States behind Alzheimer’s disease. A person with vascular dementia may experience: slurred speech, language problems, inability to follow instructions, challenges managing money or confusion in familiar surroundings. Top of Page

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