Do you worry about your memory and the state of your brain’s overall health? If so, you’re not alone. Memory concerns are exceedingly common. Many people have occasional lapses in remembering, such as forgetting where they left their cell phone or struggling to remember whether they turned off the coffee pot before leaving the house.
In fact, some researchers estimate that 21 to 26 percent of older adults who are cognitively well report some level of memory problems. Even without experiencing memory problems firsthand, many of us have a fear of having memory problems, with 60 percent of adults reporting they are either very or somewhat worried about losing their memory.
When it comes to cognitive concerns and memory evaluation, at Hudson Medical + Wellness, we use innovative, cutting-edge technologies to evaluate and diagnose cognitive problems. With early detection, we can initiate proactive neurocognitive treatment plans to prevent memory problems from getting more pronounced.
There are many reasons why people may experience cognitive difficulties, such as problems with memory, attention, learning, focus, or concentration.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), age is a primary risk factor for developing cognitive difficulties. Other potential causes include:
- Family history
- Past exposure to pesticides or toxins
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Chronic medical conditions (such as Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, or diabetes)
- Certain medications
- Vitamin B12 deficiencies
- Mood concerns
Regardless of the underlying cause, memory problems and other cognitive challenges tend to become more pronounced during times of stress.
If you are experiencing cognitive difficulties, memory concerns, or find that you often feel as though your brain is “foggy,” you may benefit from Evoke Neuroscience’s eVox brain mapping technology. Cognitive concerns have traditionally been evaluated with standardized questionnaires; however, brain mapping technology allows clinicians to obtain a more functional picture of the brain in real-time, and screen for disorders such as Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
An eVox brain map can help a clinician evaluate your brain function directly and obtain information about stress-related brain conditions such as memory loss, chronic pain, mood issues, sleep problems, anxiety, attention issues, and brain fog. This can be particularly useful for patients who have a history of head injury such as concussion.
An eVox assessment uses a combination of technologies—known as electroencephalography (EEG), ERP (event-related potentials), and ECG electrocardiography—to create a personalized report of your brain’s functioning.
An EEG is a functional neuroimaging technique that measures your brain’s electrical activity (known as brainwaves). It helps to consider brainwaves as a more familiar type of wave—an ocean wave. Ocean waves are continuous, and they fluctuate in their speed. Some ocean waves are fierce and move at high speeds, while others move more gently. An ocean wave that is moving quickly might indicate certain information about an incoming weather storm. An ocean wave’s shape or nature might also change as a boat moves across it, or a surfer cuts into it.
Similarly, our brainwaves can reveal information about our brain function based on how fast they move and how quickly they respond to certain changes in our environment. EEGs are very safe, and they have been used for brain evaluation for a century.
An ERP is a discrete “event” that occurs within the brain. It is measured by a small change in electrical voltage on an EEG recording. These events can occur in response to stimuli such as a new smell or sound—events that happen in your external physical environment, a by new thought or movement, and events generated in your internal neural environment. An evaluation of ERPs can reveal information about cognitive processes such as perception, attention, and memory. By measuring the speed of these processes, a clinician can assess your brain’s overall function and identify areas of potential improvement.
An ECG is a test that measures your heart’s electrical activity. Depending on where the ECG electrodes (known as leads) are placed, a clinician can obtain information about the functioning and movement of specific areas of your heart. Your heart’s function is controlled by two arms of the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic and parasympathetic response systems. When an ECG is paired with an EEG, a clinician can monitor how both your brain and heart react in real-time in response to stimuli.
During an eVox brain map assessment, you will wear a snug cap on your head, similar to a swim cap. The cap has embedded electrodes that can measure your brain’s electrical signals from the surface of your scalp. After the cap and other monitors are in place, you will be asked to perform a series of short, simple tasks on a computer. While you are performing these tasks, your clinician will record your brain activity and measure your heart activity to get information about your cognitive processing and how your brain communicates with other areas of your body.
People who have had an eVox brain map assessment find that it is an easy and painless process. Your assessment will take about 40 minutes and can be completed right in your doctor’s office—no need to travel to an off-site imaging center.
Following an eVox brain mapping assessment, your clinician will receive a comprehensive report of findings related to your brain function. This information will reveal details about how your brain processes your environment, how you make decisions, the performance of your attention and memory systems, and the state of your brain’s overall resilience. The eVox brain map may also reveal focal areas of your brain that are not functioning optimally.
The type of information gleaned from an eVox assessment can be useful in differentiating between normal or “physiologic” changes that occur due to aging, versus changes that may put you at risk for developing dementia. By knowing how your brain is functioning, you can optimize your current brain health, and your clinician can also personalize your treatment, such as potentially making changes to your medications, suggesting nutritional adjustments, or prescribing biofeedback therapy.
If you have memory concerns or think you may be experiencing other cognitive difficulties, it is important to address these concerns early on so you can take action as appropriate. If you are interested in learning more about our Evoke/eVox cognitive testing, schedule an appointment with one of our Wellness providers today.
Chen, ST, et al. (2014) Modifiable Risk Factors for Alzheimer Disease and Subjective Memory Impairment across Age Groups. PLOS ONE.
Cognitive Impairment: A Call for Action, Now. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed April 6. 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/cognitiveimpairment/cogimppoilicy_final.pdf
Sur, S., & Sinha, V. K. (2009). Event-related potential: An overview. Industrial psychiatry journal, 18(1), 70–73.
Tivadar, R. I., & Murray, M. M. (2019). A Primer on Electroencephalography and Event-Related Potentials for Organizational Neuroscience. Organizational Research Methods, 22(1), 69–94.
Woodman G. F. (2010). A brief introduction to the use of event-related potentials in studies of perception and attention. Attention, perception & psychophysics, 72(8), 2031–2046.