What is Bradyphrenia & How is it Treated?

The brain disorders such as Parkinson’s diseases, SchizophreniaAlzheimer’s disease cause problems in daily life of an individual. Among the many characteristics observed, bradyphrenia is one of the symptoms that they experience.

What is Bradyphrenia?

What is Bradyphrenia?

Bradyphrenia is a neurological term, which refers to the slow thought process observed in patients with Parkinson’s diseases and other disorders of the brain. Bradyphrenia patients also show inattentiveness and delayed response, which leads to decreased productivity on the given tasks. Due to slow thought process, Bradyphrenia patient’s would answer only by one word and not fully. They find it hard to think and difficult to express their thoughts. They have to search for words to describe their feelings. Bradyphrenia is also called as psychic akinesia.

Symptoms of Bradyphrenia

Bradyphrenia is characterized by:

  • Slow thought process. This cognitive slowing causes disruptions of speech, mobility, sentence comprehension, executive function and working memory in Bradyphrenia patients.
  • Increased latency of response
  • Absence of voluntary motion
  • Mental void or blank
  • Reduce emotional concern (athymhormy)
  • Compulsions and repetitive actions is yet another symptom of Bradyphrenia.

After stimulation from outside, the Bradyphrenia patient is able to move just as normally as expected and also accomplish complex mental and physical tasks if they are reminded to continue the task. Some reports mention that it is not associated with depression since these Bradyphrenia patients lack thoughts.

Prevalence Rate of Bradyphrenia

Prevalence rate of Bradyphrenia is same as that of Parkinson’s diseases. Factors such as elderly people, cerebrovascular risk factors and genetics, predispose individual to slow thinking and latency. It is observed in both females and males.

Prognosis of Bradyphrenia

Bradyphrenia generally does not lead to death. However, if it is not treated in time, bradyphrenia may worsen leading to even more difficulty in thinking process.

Causes of Bradyphrenia

Bradyphrenia is caused due to the following factors:

  • Damage to certain critical structures of the brain
  • Side-effects of psychiatric medications.

Pathophysiology of Bradyphrenia

Bradyphrenia is caused after damage to certain structures in the brain which support a physical model of motivation in human beings, wherein the limbic loop of basal ganglia works as the initiator of action and thought.

Risk Factors of Bradyphrenia

The risk factors of Bradyphrenia include:

  • Old age
  • Brain disorders
  • Medications taken to treat brain disorders.

Diagnosis of Bradyphrenia

There is no gold standard for the assessment of processing speed. The doctor has to use different tests to obtain data and interpret findings accordingly. The doctor performs physical examination and records medical history. The different techniques used to elicit bradyphrenia are as follows:

  • Bedside Examination for Bradyphrenia: It includes reading the alphabet backwards, letter fluency, Serial 7s and Trail making test.
  • Psychomotor and Psychological Speed Measures for Bradyphrenia: It helps in determining the psychomotor and psychological processing speed through Simple reaction time, recognition time, Choice reaction time, Inspection time tests.
  • Neuropsychological Measures for Diagnosing Bradyphrenia: It includes Adult memory and processing battery, Paced sensory addition test, Stroop test, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III tests.
  • Computerized Measures: This includes auditory and visual threshold tests, serial addition test, and Sternberg memory scanning tests.

Electrophysiological Measures comprises of P300 latency, Alpha peak EEG frequency to diagnose bradyphrenia.

The data from all these tests are collected, interpreted and findings of processing speed is measured and the confounding variables is minimized. Based on these test results, the condition of bradyphrenia is diagnosed.

How is Bradyphrenia Treated?

Treatment for bradyphrenia aims for:

  • Stopping medications which caused bradyphrenia
  • Minimization of cerebrovascular risk factors
  • Normalization of blood sugar and cobalamin levels
  • Neuro-protective therapy- This therapy has the goal to slow down the progression of the condition by interfering with nerve cell degeneration.

Restorative Therapy for Bradyphrenia

This therapy intends to replace the neurons that have been lost. Restorative therapy for Bradyphrenia is done by transplanting embryonic cells which may be able to perform normal function of your nervous system pathways. They may also be able to use genetic modification of the cells to help restore normal function.

Taking in suitable H2 -antagonists include famotidine and ranitidine. The H2 -antagonists may be co-administered with other compounds such as histamine H1-antagonists which are known to be useful in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Suitable histamine H2 -antagonists include famotidine, ranitidine, cimetidine, nizatidine, omeprazole, tiotidine and aminofurazan compounds.

An appropriate combination of Carbipoda/Levopoda treatment increases movement and it also increases the speed of thinking.

Lifestyle and Coping with Bradyphrenia

Since the patient with bradyphrenia exhibits slow thought process; hence the person managing such patients has to develop a lot of patience. The Bradyphrenia patients have to cope up by changing their lifestyle as:

  • Minimize multi-tasking to help reduce the mixed messages that are being sent to the basal ganglia.
  • Focus on just one task at a time.
  • Allow person enough time to answer or react
  • Be patient during long pauses
  • Maintain focus on the person
  • Limit distractions in the environment
  • Be aware of the person’s personal preferences
  • One should speak slowly and if necessary, must repeat for a person with slower mental processing to understand.
  • Be sure that the person’s attention is engaged before you start giving any information or start with any discussion.

Overall, the family needs to refine and organize their roles to adapt to the person showing symptoms of bradyphrenia.

At Workplace:

  • One needs to write down the tasks with steps in order
  • Remind the Bradyphrenia patient by using alarm clocks or watches to get started.
  • Mention properly to the Bradyphrenia patient that you are going to talk about a new topic or embark on a new task.


Bradyphrenia refers to the slow thought process and is the characteristic feature of certain brain disorders such as Parkinson’s diseases. It is caused due to problems in the brain either due to old age or due to taking certain medications. It can be minimized to certain extent by taking medications such as Levopoda, suitable H2 –antagonists and by nerve cell restoration therapy. Overall the family and members at work place and the patient too, have to modify their lifestyle to deal with bradyphrenia.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 22, 2018

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