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weakness and memory loss

by Asha Beena Rajan

Question: My father had a left brain stroke 11 years ago that left him semi-paralyzed on the right side and unable to walk properly or hold a pen Recently, he had a fall and he hit his head on a rock causing a small bleed inside his brain. Now the wound has healed, but he suffers from extreme weakness and is unable to remember details of incidents that took place 1hr ago or may be the previous evening. How can we help him? Are there any mental exercises or food that boosts his brain power and physical strength?

Answer Even a small brain bleed can have major effects on the brain. I don't know that there are foods that can reverse damage, but foods that have been shown in studies to possibly be helpful in preventing cognitive decline are foods with omega 3 fatty acids and fruits/vegetables. Foods suggested to avoid or limit have shown to be sweets and red meat. Exercises can help with physical strength. Some research has shown that cognitive exercises are best performed through interaction with people and hands on games rather than through computer games. One of the complaints against computer games is that people can improve their scores on these games but that it doesn't necessarily carry over into everyday life. This isn't to say that all computer activities are useless but that rehabilitation for cognition should definitely include other activities to boost memory and brain functions. One can also learn to compensate for memory loss by making a memory notebook. When something happens, have them (or someone else if necessary) write it down in their memory book along with the date/time so that the person can refer to the memory book to help them with recall. Important names, numbers, and information can also be put in the memory book. Of course if someone is severely impaired, a memory book may not be appropriate, but it is an option for many with memory deficits.

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