The most common clinical symptom Superficial Siderosis patients suffer besides sensorineural hearing loss and ataxia is depression. As your clinical symptoms progress stressors take over; slowly your quality of life begins to change. Chronic stress can naturally evolve into depression, but there is also evidence of a biological connection. Screening Superficial Siderosis patients for depression needs to be a regular part of their plan of care. Loss of concentration, sleep disturbance, cognitive and behavior changes can be the cause of and caused by depression. Increased physical pain and fatigue can be real consequences in a depressive state. Friends or family often believe feeling sad is run-of-the-mill, so it’s easy to miss the distress.¹ Personality and mood disorders often present in Superficial Siderosis patient when cerebellar degeneration is present.  New studies have shown the cerebellum plays a critical role in mood function.² Depression, anxiety and irritability symptoms are all intensified. Depression, in turn, will elevate pain levels, magnify cognitive difficulties and be responsible for a general feeling of melancholy. Your yearly plan-of-care should include screening for depression. Therapy sessions with a psychiatrist or psychologist will help control feelings and mood.   Updated: June 19, 2018 Sources: Superficial siderosis is a rare neurologic…

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Mild Cognitive Impairment

cog test

Mild Cognitive Impairment is when a person experiences a slight but noticeable and measurable decline in cognitive abilities, including memory and thinking skills. These changes are noticeable to the person affected and to family members and friends but will not affect your ability to carry out everyday activities. Depression may amplify cognitive problems. SS patients who have a diagnosis of cerebellar atrophy may experience episodes of impaired recall of new facts, difficulty with planning, organizing and completing new tasks. Initiating a new task and keeping their focus on the task. Cognitive function is often evaluated by the administration of either the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) or the Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination (SLUMS). Both tests consist of 11 questions in two sections: the first part addresses orientation, attention, and memory, with the second addressing verbal and written skills. An overall score between zero and 30 is possible. A score of 27- 30 is indicative of normal cognitive function. A score of 21-26 is considered Mild Cognitive Impairment. A score between 1-20 indicates a diagnosis of dementia. Patients with cerebellar atrophy may have impaired recall of newly learned information or difficulty with “executive functions” such as making plans and keeping…

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Short Term Memory Loss

  Short-term memory is the ability to store small amounts of information for a limited amount of time. Miller’s Law states that the capacity of an average person’s short-term memory is 7±2 objects, and lasts for a matter of seconds. This means that when given a series of items to remember, most people can remember 5-9 of those items, the average being 7.¹ Short-term memory problems have an organic root in Superficial Siderosis patients. Personality and mood disorders, such as increased irritability, anxiety, and depression are known issues experienced by people with cerebellar degeneration.² Neuropsychologists suggest stressors from depression may exacerbate memory problems. Memory is one of the higher-brain functions. A person suffering from major depression may have trouble initiating tasks, making decisions, planning future actions, or organizing thoughts. Studies have also shown that cortisol contributes to memory loss, especially short-term memory loss, because of the harm it does to brain cells. Cortisol will be released into your system during times of stress, which is why those with severe anxiety are at risk for developing memory loss problems.³ Stress hormones are one mechanism that we believe leads to weathering of the brain,” Jason Radley, assistant professor in psychology at the UI and…

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