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Dressing | What's Happening in the Brain

To get dressed requires a series of complex functions. You need to be aware of your situation, and that it will change, requiring you to put on clothes. You need to have the judgment to choose the correct clothes, and the initiative to want to put the clothes on. You also need to be able to make the right sequence of movements, including the five motor movements involved in buttoning and zipping.

A part from the judgment, awareness and initiative features, all parts of executive function , the recognition and coordination of movement is known as praxis, and its loss is called apraxia . Apraxia is common in Alzheimer's disease , and reflects the disruption of the brain chemicals that make up motor sequences. The inability to get dressed is one form of apraxia.

Remember that dementia exists when cognitive impairment (e.g. problems with thinking, memory , judgment) is severe enough to interfere with function. Function can relate to complex activities, such as driving or complex hobbies, which are impaired first, but also to more basic activities, such as personal care, that become impaired later.

The capacity for function does not exist in one part of the brain, but rather requires the integration of several brain activities. Functions like dressing are basic and over learned, so that by the time they become affected, many brain areas are involved. Still, we have some hints based on patterns. For example, the fact that a person can still get dressed when prompted to do so suggests that the problem in that case is one of initiation, which is characteristically a frontal lobe function. Later, as the disease is more widespread, the inability to carry out a motor function because the thinking parts of the brain are affected is known as apraxia. Characteristically, the brain's parietal lobes are also involved then.



See Also:
Symptom Library > Everyday Activities > Bathing
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Independence
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Decision Making
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Disorientation to Time
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Inappropriate Language and Behaviour
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Self-Awareness
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Exercise Program
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Exercise
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Natural Progression and Staging
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Last updated October 16, 2017
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