ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — About one in nine Americans over age 45 reports memory issues. Whether they’re mild or severe, these problems can be frustrating. But there are some ways to improve your memory. Ivanhoe has the story about brain power.
Do you lose your phone often? Misplace your keys? Forget where you parked? If you’re worried about memory loss, there’s good news. Research shows there are some ways to help! First: stay away from sugar. A study from Boston University of about 4,000 people found those who consumed more sugar had lower total brain volumes and poorer memories on average. Also, try meditation. It’s been shown to increase grey matter in the brain and improve short-term memory. Researchers from Vanderbilt University are studying the effect of a patch that contains pure nicotine, and the results are encouraging.
“We found that patients improved. In fact, there was a measurable and sustained improvement in memory and attention functioning,” explained Paul Newhouse, MD, Director of Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine.
Scientists from the UK are also looking at a treatment called magnetic stimulation. In a recent study, it helped enhance the formation of new memories in healthy participants. Vitamin D supplements might be another way to help memory. In one study, researchers found patients who had lower vitamin Dlevels lost their memory and cognitive ability faster than those with normal levels. And, if you want to preserve your memory, be sure to get checked out by a doctor.
“We like to say around here, don’t forget your memory, right? So, if you have your blood pressure checked, if you have your cholesterol checked, have your memory checked as well,” continued Dr. Newhouse.
Exercise is also a memory booster. In a study of 144 people, a single bout of 15 minutes of moderate exercise led to improved cognitive performance, including memory across all age groups.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
BOOST YOUR BRAIN POWER: DON’T FORGET YOUR MEMORY!
BACKGROUND: Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and mild cognitive impairment are all terms to describe age-related memory loss. Memory loss tends to be more common as a person ages, but is not necessarily part of normal aging. Sudden or gradual persistent changes in memory loss and mental lapses can be signs of more serious conditions. While there is no cure for most conditions that cause cognitive decline, recognizing key symptoms can provide a window of opportunity to seek medical care before any memory loss worsens. The two general categories of cognitive decline are mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. While people with MCI have a greater-than-average risk of developing dementia, for many the symptoms remain stable and don’t progress. Once people have dementia, it almost always gets worse.
WAYS TO RETAIN SHARP MEMORY: Experts think that advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting a person into the habit of being mentally active. Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them. The more senses you use in learning something, the more of your brain will be involved in retaining the memory. For example, trying to guess the ingredients as you smell and taste a new restaurant dish, or giving sculpting or ceramics a try and noticing the feel and smell of the materials being using. Taking advantage of calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists, file folders, and address books will help keep routine information accessible, and designating a place at home for glasses, purse, keys, and other items is beneficial. When you want to remember something you’ve just heard, read, or thought about, repeat it out loud or write it down. This reinforces the memory or connection. Finally, mnemonic devices can take the form of acronyms (such as RICE to remember first-aid advice for injured limbs: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation).
NEW HOPE WITH DEMENTIA THERAPY: A ground-breaking new treatment developed by Macquarie University scientists shows reversing the effects of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease in a study of mice with advanced dementia. The treatment works by focusing on a naturally protective enzyme in the brain called p38gamma, which when activated prevents the toxic effects of memory loss. The discovery has huge implications for the treatment not only of Alzheimer’s, but other dementia-related diseases such as fronto-temporal dementia, which affects younger people in their 40’s and 50’s. “Numbers-wise, basic science has managed to reduce the mortality of all major diseases – cancer, diabetes, blood pressure and so forth – but we are still seeing increases in Alzheimer’s disease, and so getting into the space and doing something about it is of utmost importance,” said Professor Lars Ittner, Director of the Dementia Research Center in Australia. The new therapy did not only halt memory loss, but it also completely reversed the loss already there.
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Paul Newhouse, MD
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