Do you know your cognitive number?
This is a question that is seldom asked, but according to Mylea Charvat, PhD, CEO of Savonix, knowing the answer is important.
Savonix is a digital and cost-effective cognitive assessment platform that can be used to monitor mental cognition. If you’re wondering what exactly mental cognition is, it isn’t the same as IQ.
Whereas IQ can be determined by culture, cognition is distinctly determined by what the brain is capable of – such as switching between tasks quickly, remembering digits in order or reverse order, or remembering what a person says. And although cognition is not determined by education or race, it is influenced by age and improves over time from childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood.
According to Dr. Charvat, cognition is a part of you that controls many crucial aspects of your daily life – remembering what to get at the grocery store, driving a car, and even regulating your emotions and impulses. The problem is, it’s just not as obvious as some of the other medical information we monitor. “Cholesterol and blood pressure are important and you have to watch those things, but cognition is the fifth vital sign that we don’t talk about,” she states.
Cognitive function is secondary to a number of medical issues, such as depression, diabetes, trauma, and post-operation, and can remit before the more noticeable effects do. For example, if a depressed patient’s cognitive number is in the low-average range before starting medication and then is re-tested a few weeks later, the number may rise even if the patient doesn’t feel emotionally better yet. This kind of information can help prove to the patient that the treatment is, in fact, working even if they can’t see a difference yet, giving them a reason to continue treatment.
In the case of diabetes, which can also cause secondary cognitive impairment, 60% of people fail at managing their insulin. If a doctor tested their patient’s cognition and saw that he or she was in the low-average range, there may be ways they can help, such as advising the patient to set reminders or suggesting that they receive nursing support. The same can be said for postoperative or trauma patients, who may only need these extra reminders or nursing support temporarily.
Dr. Charvat believes that if every doctor tested their patients’ cognitive function, they would be able to track what is really going on in their brains.