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Q: How to improve memory ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Question  
Subject: How to improve memory
Category: Health
Asked by: homerjaysimpson-ga
List Price: $14.00
Posted: 21 Jul 2005 17:01 PDT
Expires: 20 Aug 2005 17:01 PDT
Question ID: 546424
I'm worried about my memory.  It seems that I am constantly forgeting
thangs that my fiance has mentioned, or not able to recall events that
acquaintances are discussing.

I'd say that I'm a very intelligent person - 28 y.o.  I read a lot.  I
work as a lawyer in a big firm, so its relatively high stress.

Hmmm....what else to say.... Oh, well one of the main reasons that I
ask this question is that my maternal grandfather had alzheimers.  I
know I should have looked into it years ago, but I don't really know
if it is the sort of disease that runs in the family.  Could you
please give sources on that topic?  I'm sure that is not my problem
right now, so maybe this is a two part question.  Let me know if I
need to split the questions up.

Basically, I'm looking for any advice on how to "exercise" your memory
or keep your memory in good shape.  Any supplements that might be
taken (that actually work)?  Any other general advice?
Answer  
Subject: Re: How to improve memory
Answered By: umiat-ga on 23 Jul 2005 09:46 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
 
Hello, homerjaysimpson-ga!

 It sounds like you have a lot going on in your life right now.
Forgetfulness is one of the symptoms of stress, and it may be that
your mind is constantly mulling over other topics, internally, while
your fiancÚ or in-laws are talking.

 We all have levels of importance that we attach to conversations,
especially if we are going through a period of life that is inherently
stressful. I, for one, am guilty of only "half-listening" many times,
especially when I have more important tasks crowding my brain. For
example, my husband might be telling me details about his current job,
and while I am nodding and responding, I am actually silently trying
to figure out how I will get my daughter situated for college, help
her reduce her anxiety, deal with my aging parents, etc.

 Are you silently thinking about your job, impending marriage - other
concerns - while your fiancÚ is reminding you that you need to fill
the car with gas, or your in-laws are discussing their next vacation?

 More telling would be whether your are forgetting essential tasks
necessary to perform your job as a lawyer. Do you find that you can
perform your job as before?

 While Alzheimer?s "may" have a tendency to run in families, the
evidence is not clear, and it is unlikely that you are experiencing
symptoms at this young age. However, it is never too early to learn to
listen effectively, and to improve your memory.




EFFECTIVE LISTENING
====================

"Five Tips for Listening Well," by Thad Peterson
http://featuredreports.monster.com/listen/tips/

"Respect and Ways to Listen Effectively." Family Works
http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/familyworks/respect-02.html

Listening Effectively."
http://www.wright.edu/~scott.williams/skills/listening.htm 



TOOLS TO IMPROVE MEMORY
========================

Some useful tools for improving memory are compiled on the following site:
http://www.psychwww.com/mtsite/memory.html


MindTools has a list of links to memory improvement techniques for
specific types of information: http://www.mindtools.com/memory.html


"Five Simple Techniques to Improve Your Memory," by Ajan Raghunathan
http://www.psychology4all.com/FiveMemoryTechniques.htm


"Tips and Techniques to Improve Your Memory," by Sharon Jacobsen 
http://www.finetuning.com/articles/786-tips-and-techniques-to-improve-your-memory.html


Books
======

"The Memory Doctor: Fun, simple Techniques to Improve Memory & Boost
Your Brain Power,"  by Douglas J. Mason, Spencer Xavier Smith
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1572243708/ref=pd_sxp_f/102-8633616-5704941?v=glance&s=books


"Harvard Medical School Guide to Achieving Optimal Memory (Harvard
Medical School Guides)," by Aaron P. Nelson, Susan Gilbert
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/007144470X/ref=pd_sim_b_1/102-8633616-5704941?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance


"Intelligent Memory: Improve the Memory That Makes You Smarter," by
Barry Gordon, Lisa Berger.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0670032409/ref=pd_sim_b_5/102-8633616-5704941?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance



ALZHEIMER'S 
=============

From "An overview of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias."
Alheimer's Association. http://www.alzwisc.org/overview.html#families

Does Alzheimer's disease run in families?

"The evidence is not clear. Cases where several members of a single
family have hadd autopsy-confirmed diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease
are rare. Much more common is the situation where a single family
member is diagnosed as having probably Alzheimer's (meaning that
physicians are 80 to 90 percent certain that it is Alzheimer's)."

"A person's risk of developing the disease seems to be slightly higher
if a first-degree relative (brother, sister, parent) has the disease.
This situation is called "familial," which means there could be a
genetic factor involved, or perhaps family members were exposed to
something in the environment that caused the disease."

Does Alzheimer's disease occur in younger adults?

"Yes. The disease can occur in people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s,
although most people diagnosed with Alzheimer's are older than age 65.
This is called "early-onset" and represents less than 10 percent of
Alzheimer cases."

=

From "Alzheimer's disease and dementia." James Tighe. BBC/UK
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/mental_health/disorders_dementia.shtml

"Alzheimer's disease does appear to run in families, but having a
relative with Alzheimer's doesn't appear to significantly raise your
own risk of developing the problem."

==


 I hope the references I have provided prove helpful, and ease your mind somewhat!


Take care,

umiat


Search Strategy
improving memory
how to listen effectively
stress and forgetfulness
alzheimers
does alzheimer's run in families?
alzheimer's in young adults
homerjaysimpson-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00

Comments  
Subject: Re: How to improve memory
From: jonharman-ga on 21 Jul 2005 23:51 PDT
 
Recent tea study:
http://www.newstarget.com/004474.html
http://www.ontcm.com/message/10411173401.htm

Ginkgo Biloba
http://www.consumerlab.com/results/ginkgobiloba.asp
Subject: Re: How to improve memory
From: doug62-ga on 23 Jul 2005 07:10 PDT
 
It sounds like forgetting things is a new occurrence for you. 
However, there is still a possibility that you might have a component
of Adult Attention Decificit Disorder.  This is something that you
could discuss with your healthcare practiioner, and you might want to
do some more research on the Internet about the signs/symptoms.

Since you state you have a high stress job, have you considered the
impact of stress on your ability to concentrate and therefore recall
information?  Stress can be a common reason for problems with
concentrating and active listening.  Regular exercise can help control
stress and again, this might be an issue to discuss with your
healthcare practitioner, as there are pharmacologic interventions that
can be made.

Given your age, it would seem to me that the onset of Alzheimers would
be slim.  However, you shouldn't dismiss your symptoms and should
instead pursue exploring them with your healthcare practitioner.  (Are
you beginning to see a pattern here?)  ;)  Life is too short to not
make the most of it.  You already know that you have a family history
of Alzheimers disease and although the disease is not inherited there
is strong support that there is a familial tendency towards the
disorder.  Also, there are better treatments than ever, but to be
maximally effective they must begin as early in disease progression as
possible.

I'm not aware of any supplements that have been "proven" to be
effective (or everyone would probably be taking them at this point). 
There are lots of anecdotal information that will steer you towards
many different supplements and you'll have to research each of them
carefully and thoroughly before biting.  There is support for mental
exercises decreasing the risk and or progression of dementia of almost
any type though.  Keeping your mind active, as I'm sure you do in your
daily work, as well as activities such as reading, completing
crossword puzzles, etc. may be helpful.

Hope this information is beneficial in some way!
Subject: Re: How to improve memory
From: myoarin-ga on 23 Jul 2005 18:09 PDT
 
I agree entirely with Umiat-ga's opening remarks.  Call it Adult
Attention Deficicit Disorder or just selective inattention: 
somethings just go in one ear and out the other.  At the moment, we
hear it and immediately relegate the subject  to a memory delete area.
 This is usually entirely correct from our need for the information,
but if others  - your fiancee -  later refer to the subject, it isn't
there, at least not immediately.
Don't worry about it.  It isn't Altzheimer.  Most married couples are
skilled at selective inattention  - do I really care or want to know
what my wife thinks about this or that person - whom I have never met
- and their problems?  No, rightfully, but she expects me to remember.

Doug's recommendation of physical exercise is good; it lets you unwind
and regenerates.  Just demanding for yourself a half hour to unwind,
to shift scenes without new input is a great help; feet up, newspaper
up - probably forget most if its contents, but better is jogging or
the like.  Maybe you think about work, whatever, after a shower you
are ready to be an attentive person again.  Make it a habit, that
improves the effect, physically and mentally, knowing you have the
time for yourself, even if you have guests; you and they will
appreciate that then you are there for them, attentive, not suddenly
talking about your unfinished work .... ever done that?

Take care, myoarin
Subject: Re: How to improve memory
From: calgonia-ga on 27 Jul 2005 14:21 PDT
 
Burn-out level stress can result in un-restful sleeping that can
result in memory loss. Are you getting restful sleep at night? Start
keeping a sleep diary. First thing in the morning write down when you
go to sleep, when you get up, and whether you feel rested.  A friend,
who went through severe burn-out several years ago, overheard me say
something similar last year (my burn-out was spectacular shortly
thereafter).  I was carrying around a paper and pencil because I
couldn't keep anything in my head for more than a minute.  He told me
that it may never come back. He used to do a lot of community theater,
and he'd memorize lines in a couple of days. It now takes him a couple
of weeks.  I still don't have my memory back either, and it's been 10
months.

If you think that your memory loss may be stress/rest related, and,
even with the sleep diary, you find that you're not getting rest, go
to a doctor and get medical help to restore normal sleep patterns.
Subject: Re: How to improve memory
From: homerjaysimpson-ga on 27 Jul 2005 15:20 PDT
 
Thanks for all of the comments.  I actually don't think it is stress
related.  Although my job stresses out a lot of my co-workers, I
generally am very laid back and rarely "take work home with me."  I
work some long hours, but I doubt that stress is a big problem.  I
also get plenty of sleep - that is definitely not an issue.

I do, however, need to exercise more.  That is for sure.  Thanks again
for the comments, everyone.

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