Neurological and psychiatric diseases and their unique cognitive profiles: implications for nursing practice and research.Vance DE, Dodson JE, Watkins J, Kennedy BH, Keltner NL.
To successfully negotiate and interact with one's environment, optimal cognitive functioning is needed. Unfortunately, many neurological and psychiatric diseases impede certain cognitive abilities such as executive functioning or speed of processing; this can produce a poor fit between the patient and the cognitive demands of his or her environment. Such nondementia diseases include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and anxiety disorders, just to name a few. Each of these diseases negatively affects particular areas of the brain, resulting in distinct cognitive profiles (e.g., deficits in executive functioning but normal speed of processing as seen in schizophrenia). In fact, it is from these cognitive deficits in which such behavioral and emotional symptoms may manifest (e.g., delusions, paranoia). This article highlights the distinct cognitive profiles of such common neurological and psychiatric diseases. An understanding of such disease-specific cognitive profiles can assist nurses in providing care to patients by knowing what cognitive deficits are associated with each disease and how these cognitive deficits impact everyday functioning and social interactions. Implications for nursing practice and research are posited within the framework of cognitive reserve and neuroplasticity.