Mnemonics in Cognitive Rehabilitation
Each year in the United States, an estimated 1.5 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as the result of car accidents, falls, assaults, gunshot wounds, and sports injuries, and an estimated 80,000 to 90,000 of these people will experience the onset of long-term disability each year (Thurman, Alverson, Dunn, Guerrero, & Sniezek, 1999). A large but unknown number of people will suffer nontraumatic brain injuries caused by brain lesions, anoxia, tumors, aneurysm, vascular malformation, and infections of the brain that are equally disabling. Add to these figures the estimated 5.3 million people with Alzheimer’s disease along with 20% of the population older than age 70 afflicted with mild cognitive impairment (Alzheimer’s Association, 2009). The absolute numbers will inflate with the aging of the population. Millions more people suffer from various cognitively debilitating diseases such as schizophrenia (2.2 million), epilepsy (2 million), and Parkinson’s disease (1 million). However diverse the etiology and the behavioral manifestations, these various forms of injury and illness cause severe mental dysfunction, and all would benefit from effective cognitive rehabilitation. The estimates provided here are indicative of the urgent need for research and development in this field.