Cognitive deficit or cognitive impairment is an inclusive term to describe any characteristic that acts as a barrier to the cognition process. Cognition in a broad sense means information processing. It denotes a relatively high level of processing of specific information including thinking, memory, perception, motivation, skilled movements and language.

Cognitive deficit may describe deficits in global intellectual performance, as with intellectual disabilities; it may describe specific deficits in cognitive abilities (learning disorders, dyslexia); or it may describe drug-induced cognitive/memory impairment, such as that seen with alcohol, glucocorticoids, and the benzodiazepines. It usually refers to a durable characteristic, as opposed to altered level of consciousness, which may be acute (short duration) and reversible(reversible, with the possibility of state to the previous state).

Cognitive deficits may be congenital or caused by environmental factors such as brain injuries, neurological disorders, or mental illness. One of the most common risk factor is age. With increasing age, there is a reduction of cognitive function in humans.

Signs of cognitive disorder vary according to the particular disorder. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • dementia
  • developmental disorders
  • confusion
  • failures of judgment

The diagnosis of cognitive impairment requires considerable clinical judgement, and as such a comprehensive clinical assessment including clinical observation, neuroimaging, blood tests and neuropsychological testing are best in order to rule out an alternate diagnosis. The neurological exam tested for example reflexes and eye movements.

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), which describes 250 disorders and their symptoms, cognitive disorders are classified under a psychological disorder in axis I. The three main areas outlined by the DSM-IV-TR of cognitive disorders are delirium, dementia, and amnesia.

  • Delirium - a disorder that makes situational awareness and processing new information very difficult for those diagnosed. It usually has a high rate of onset ranging from minutes to hours and sometimes days, but it does not last for very long, only a few hours to weeks.
  • Dementia - a genetic or trauma induced disorder that erases part or all of the patient’s memory.
  • Amnesia - a trouble retaining long term memories.

Turner syndrome

Turner's syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects females. Usually, a female has two X chromosomes; in females with Turner's syndrome, one of these chromosomes is missing or abnormal. Characteristics of this disorder include short stature and infertility. Turner's syndrome is associated with a cognitive profile that typically includes intact intellectual function and verbal abilities with relative weaknesses in visual-spatial, executive, and social cognitive domains.


Ovariectomy is the surgical removal of an ovary or ovaries. Ovariectomy has serious long-term consequences stemming mostly from the hormonal effects of the surgery and extending well beyond menopause. The reported risks and adverse effects include premature death, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment or dementia, suggesting that the relationship between surgical menopause and cognitive impairment may be multifactorial.

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Oophorectomy ―sourced from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Turner's syndrome ―sourced from Queensland Government licensed under CC BY 3.0 AU
Cognitive deficit ―sourced from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Cognitive profile of Turner syndrome ―by Hong et al. licensed under CC0 1.0
Cognitive Impairment in Heart Failure ―by Dardiotis et al. licensed under CC BY 3.0
Cognitive disorder ―sourced from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
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