Cognitive dysfunctions are broad-based and seriously affect physical functioning and mortality. Cognitive dysfunctions do not just signify a poor memory; the range of cognitive impairment is broader and more complex, including complaints about memory or thinking as the primary symptom. Finally, cognitive impairments gradually worsen to dementia characterized by slow information processing, decreased motivation, poor judgment, reduced initiative and planning, and impaired organization ability.
Cognitive Dysfunctions in Many Diseases
a. Cognitive dysfunctions are prominent throughout schizophrenia and be a better predictor for the outcome than the overt symptoms, suggesting that cognitive disorders represent a core pathology.
b. Alzheimer's disease is associated with cognitive deficitss that typically start with characteristic memory impairment, followed by deficits in executive processes.
Cognitive dysfunctions and the overt symptoms of these disorders arise from a dysfunction in the coordination of distributed neural activity between and within functionally specialized regions of the cerebral cortex. Regardless of the variation in the progression of the dysfunction, cognitive changes become more severe as the disorder evolves. Due to the need for improved treatment of cognitive dysfunctions in many disorders, considerable efforts are being made to better understand the cerebral substrates of cognition and determine how their disruption leads to cognitive impairment in a series of psychiatric disorders.
Fig.1 A global view of cognition and its disruption in psychiatric disorders. (Millan, 2012)
Common Cognitive Dysfunctions and Related Diseases
As there is no unitary cause of cognitive impairment and no single solution for control, much promising research should be pursued for the treatment of these diseases. Improved treatment should be articulated around the notions of (1) uniting complementary mechanisms of procognitive action (for example, with multitarget drugs), (2) combining the benefits of pharmacotherapy with alternative strategies, and (3) addressing the emotional and interrelated cognitive deficits associated with psychiatric disorders.
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- Millan, M. J.; et al. Cognitive dysfunction in psychiatric disorders: characteristics, causes and the quest for improved therapy. Nature reviews Drug discovery. 2012, 11(2), 141-168.