Memory Archive


Spotting memory loss in a loved one

It can be hard to detect a potentially serious type of memory loss in a loved one, especially if small cognitive changes occur over time. It may help to note memory slips that happen consistently or those that seem uncharacteristic for the person. Tracking incidents on a calendar may also help reveal patterns. Potential incidents include consistently forgetting a close family member's name, important conversations, words for everyday objects, bills that are due, medication times or doses, or routes home from familiar places. Other common issues are frequently having trouble at work, making financial mistakes, or taking medications incorrectly.

What you need to know about aphasia

Brain damage can cause the language disorder aphasia. It affects a person's ability to understand or produce speech. Coping with aphasia requires treatment for the underlying cause and speech therapy to learn how to communicate despite language deficits. If the cause of the aphasia improves, so may the aphasia. But many people will continue to live with some level of aphasia, especially if the cause of brain damage is a progressive disease, such as Alzheimer's.

Cognitive effects in midlife of long-term cannabis use

As more US states have legalized recreational cannabis or passed medical cannabis laws, public perception that cannabis is a harmless substance is growing. But its long-term benefits and risks remain unclear, and research has revealed consistently that heavy long-term cannabis use can affect cognition in midlife.

Menopause and brain fog: What's the link?

Brain fog is tied to the severity of certain menopause symptoms, especially depression and sexual problems. Estrogen loss may be a factor, but cognitive issues aren't expected to linger. Women in menopause may worry dementia is the culprit, but Alzheimer's is rare at midlife. Strategies for coping with brain fog include staying calm, challenging the brain by changing routines, writing reminders, exercising, getting sufficient sleep, and avoiding multitasking.

Take a cue for better memory recall

People who struggle to remember names, details, or words during conversation are dealing with a phenomenon called "blocking," which is related to diminished memory recall. Addressing issues like stress, depression, an unhealthy diet, insomnia, lack of exercise, and prolonged isolation can improve recall. Otherwise, when blocking situations arise, people can try to incorporate cueing, a method that uses "hints" to help the brain better retrieve information.

Learning to right a wrong

Practicing self-forgiveness about a past wrongdoing is not easy, but it can have a range of health benefits. Studies have shown that self-forgiveness is associated with reduced guilt, shame, stress, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, as well as greater self-esteem and life satisfaction. The process of self-forgiveness follows four Rs: responsibility, remorse, reorienting, and renewal.

Screening at home for memory loss: Should you try it?

The time pressures of primary care doctors make it unlikely that they will be able to give their patients tests of cognitive function. So how will the growing numbers of people at risk for Alzheimer's or another type of dementia be identified? A self-administered test is now available.

Brain fog: Memory and attention after COVID-19

Brain fog, meaning slow or sluggish thinking, can occur under many different circumstances. In many cases, it is temporary and gets better on its own. Many people who have recovered from COVID-19 report some degree of brain fog and a study suggests even those with milder cases may experience problems with memory and attention.

Your brain on high blood pressure

High blood pressure not only can raise risk for a heart attack, but also can affect the brain. Keeping blood pressure normal can make brain injury from stroke less likely to happen and perhaps slow the natural decline in cognitive function. Just like with the heart, the best way to protect the brain from high blood pressure is to lower blood pressure if it’s high and keep it as close to a normal level as possible.

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