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Why am I losing the abilities that I relearned?

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Senior physical therapist

Answer transcribed from Brightway's interview with Dr. Cristen Gordon (pt.2):


Well, that could be a matter of practice. I'll say that when we learn things, it doesn't always stick with us forever. If there are things that we've learned and then we don't continue to do them or continue to practice, we start to lose it going by that whole “use it or lose it” theme. If you're continuing to do things and staying diligent with your exercise or maybe challenging yourself and you're suddenly seeing a decline, that's something you want to talk to your doctor about. There could also be something else going on. If you've gained progress and then, as we all get a little lazy sometimes and stop exercising, and you notice a drop in function, that might mean you just have to get back to practicing and go through the process again of relearning what you learned the first time. I’ll say that is true for everybody, not just people that have had brain injuries. If you stop what you're doing, you're going to lose function in some way, shape, or form. In fact, I've read research before where scientists took some retired Olympic athletes and measured their performance doing their sport. I think in this particular research, they were looking at track and field so they're running. Then, they had the athletes stop exercising for just two weeks and some of them saw a 50% decline in performance. You take a highly trained athlete whose body is completely tuned to doing this particular task and ask them to stop for just two weeks, and they see that much of a decline in performance. You can imagine what it might mean for the rest of us.