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Executive Function, What’s Your Function?

Posted Jan 07 2011 1:37pm

Well, simply put, it’s NOT the same thing as “Conjunction Junction.”  Nor as entertaining.  In fact, let’s watch it now!

That took me back.  See, when you have trouble with Executive Function, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem with MEMORY.

The official definition of EXECUTIVE Function is…

The term executive function describes a set of that control and regulate other abilities and behaviors. Executive functions are necessary for goal-directed behavior. They include the ability to initiate and stop actions, to monitor and change behavior as needed, and to plan future behavior when faced with novel tasks and situations. Executive functions allow us to anticipate outcomes and adapt to changing situations. The ability to form concepts and think abstractly are often considered components of executive function.

I used to have me all KINDS of executive function!  Time was when I could go from writing a podcast to answering the phone, to dealing with a media query, back to the podcast writing, answer a question from someone else, look up a file on the computer, get back to writing the podcast and not miss a beat.  Those days, sadly, are behind me.

It’s called “executive dysfunction” and it’s part of the colorful tapestry that makes up Parkinson’s.

Executive function is an interrelated set of abilities that includes cognitive flexibility, concept formation, and self-monitoring. Assessing executive function can help determine a patient’s capacity to execute health care decisions and with discharge planning decisions. With impaired , instrumental activities of daily living (accounting, shopping, medication management, driving) may be beyond the person’s capacity even though memory impairment is mild. The person’s capacity to exercise command and self-control, and to direct others to provide care, becomes diminished. Executive dysfunction is one element in the DSM-IV criteria for the diagnosis of dementia and occurs in all dementing diseases. NOTE: Patients with impaired executive function need not have impaired memory.

It’s precursor to PD .  It makes it very, very difficult to drop one task, go to another, then pick up again.

There’s more fun involved, too!

I just went over to mute the TV so I could record the Rec Therapy podcast for my work.  One of my dogs was pointing at the door like she wanted to go out.  So I pointed the TV remote at the door and hit mute.  I wondered why I could still hear the TV.  Then I realized the remote has to be pointed at the TV, not the door.

I’ve already written about these, but the other day, while taking a pill, I put the pill under the stream of water instead of putting the water in the glass.  More recently, I filled the glass, took the pill with the water, dumped the water on the counter, then put the glass into the sink.

Also today, I’m standing at the sink, getting my 10am 100.  I see one of those little flies one sees around rotting fruit.  I ask Gail if she can see it.  I look again, it’s gone.  That’s when a big housefly landed on the screen outside, then flew away.  It was 27-degrees outside.  That had to be one hardy fucking fly to be out buzzing around in sub-freezing weather.

I’ve been seeing flies a lot lately… usually out of the corner of either eye.  They buzz by and vanish.

Yessiree PETE!

In the meantime, I’m speaking in a series of grunts and hand signals that, thank God, my bride of 23 years understands.  God, how I love her.

Not a good day.  Not at all.  But the odd thing is, I’m in a good mood.  Funny thing, that.

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