Alternate Names : Cognitive Disorder, Cognitive Disability
A cognitive impairment means there is a change in how a person thinks, reacts to emotions, or behaves.
What is going on in the body?
A person can be born with a cognitive impairment. In this case, it is usually termed mental retardation. It may result from a birth injury, such as a lack of oxygen. It may also result from a defect as the baby was formed. A cognitive impairment also may occur later in life, following an injury or as part of a disease.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
A cognitive impairment may be present when a child is born, which is known as mental retardation. It may also be the result of:
abuse of prescription medicines, chemicals, street drugs, or alcohol
a disease, such as Alzheimer disease
a side effect of some medicines
a trauma such as head injury
Frail, elderly people who are removed from a familiar setting often develop cognitive problems. This may occur when they go to a hospital because of illness or when they are moved to a nursing home. Depending on the cause, cognitive impairments may be temporary or permanent.