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The memory gym

by Angelo Soares [email protected]

Dr Angelo Soares is a Specialist Doctor in Neurology and Neuro-Oncology having gained experience in hospitals in Paris, London and New York. He created the Neurology Service at the Porto Instituto Português de Oncologia where he was director until 2004. He is currently practising at Hospital Particular do Algarve.

Neurological and mental diseases can affect the population in general and all age groups are susceptible to neurological disorders.

These  illnesses are unpredictable and incurable in some cases but they are not always fatal. They affect cognitive functions, alter the normal functioning of mental activity and are the cause of distress to the patient  or even depression when varied difficulties are experienced   in   normal daily activities.  

Hospital Particular do Algarve is aware that in current clinical practice there is a considerable delay in the  diagnosis of certain neurological disorders.

Knowing that the sooner the patient initiates treatment for their specific condition the more effective the results will be, the hospital has established and trained a multidisciplinary team in order to accelerate the whole process with obvious benefits for patients and their families.

Under the supervision of  medical neurologist Dr. Angelo Soares, together with  a multidisciplinary team specialising in  neurology, psychiatry, child psychiatry, clinical psychology and general practice, the Memory Gym has been created,  intended for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases on cognition, in a concept  know as The Memory Clinic.

Mental decline begins when episodes of recent events are forgotten or there is no memory of older episodes.  

Sometimes the impossibility of achieving mental calculations is a first sign of a neurological disorder. Extreme difficulty in decision making or even a marked emotional strain, with easy tears, is another sign.  

Changes in sleep patterns, with daytime sleepiness or poor nocturnal sleep is another sign of a neurological disorder.  

Signs of indifference or apathy and disproportionate outbreaks of irritability and even violence are also indications of brain ageing which may be normal or may be warning signs of a psycho-behavioural picture,  featuring the beginning of a  of mild cognitive deficit.

On one hand, this mild cognitive deficit may represent the motions of senescence (biological ageing) and, as such, may subsequently recede.

It may, on the other hand,  be associated with dementia as is the case of Alzheimer’s disease, a developmental stage of cerebral vascular insufficiency (Binswanger’s disease), Parkinson’s disease or even another type of  dementia.

Hypertension or disorders of lipid metabolism or protein may have a significant contribution to neurological dysfunction.  

A correct neurological evaluation is indispensable, together with laboratory, radiological testing as well as genetic predisposition  will allow early recognition of dementia, stopping its progression and allowing the patient and family a happier social and family life.