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Ways to Help Improve Your Memory

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-01-04 (Rev. 2014-04-19) - People over the age of twenty-seven experience a decline in cognitive skills according to research performed by the University of Virginia. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Disabled World at Disabled World.

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Quote: "Interacting with other people lowers your risk of developing dementia. There is a catch though - the people you interact with should be one's who enjoy being around, feel engaged with, and stimulated by."

People over the age of around twenty-seven or so oftentimes experience memory issues that range from minor to major, along with a desire to make their memory power a bit greater.

Things such as the ability to remember names or numbers as well as they used to are among the memory-related items on the list of desires people have. There are a number of memory-building techniques that people can pursue to help, promoted by experts on the brain.

The Alzheimer's Association stated in its most recent report that approximately every seventy seconds, a person in America develops Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia. Not everyone will develop Alzheimer's fortunately, although people over the age of twenty-seven do experience a decline in cognitive skills according to research performed by the University of Virginia. While changes in both memory and thinking are an inevitable part of aging, a person's lifestyle appears to have the ability to diminish these effects to a certain degree and keep their mind working well as they age.

Remembering Names

Take a moment to truly focus and examine the name and face of a person you desire to remember, telling yourself that it is important to remember their name in particular. Create a, 'visual snapshot,' or picture of the person's name and face while making note of key visual characteristics the person has. Does the person have a specific color of hair? Are their ears large? What color are the person's eyes? Do they have other notable features such as dimples or scars

Create an image of the person's name in relation to their face as well. For example: Ian Langtree might be associated with a tree. Connect the image of the person's face with the image of the person's name you have created. For example; Ian Langtree might be the kind man with the goatee who has a tree, helping you to remember that Ian is Ian Langtree. Connecting images of a person's facial features with images related to a person's name increases the chances that you will remember both the person and their name at a later time.

Stop and Take a Mental Picture

A person's memories are not stored in only one place in their brain. Memories are both processed and stored in different areas of the brain. In order to help your memory of a particular event last, make a mental picture of the event while you are experiencing it using all of your senses. Take the time to look around you and notice what you see such as textures or colors. Make note of things you smell, or taste. Notice the food you eat, or beverages you drink. Taking this kind of mental, 'photograph,' can help you to maintain a memory of the event longer, but also works with things such as where you placed your keys or parked your car.

Eating Fewer Calories May Help

People over the age of sixty who reduced their caloric intake by thirty percent improved their score on memory tests by around twenty percent or more! One of the potential reasons for this includes a decrease in their levels of insulin, as well as the inflammation-associated molecule C-reactive protein. Both of these factors have been linked to improvement of memory functioning.

While cutting back on calories can help to improve memory, it is important not to eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day. If the challenge of cutting back the number of calories you eat seems troublesome, concentrate on eating foods with less fat, as well as avoiding dairy products and meat. Columbia University Medical Center researchers have reported that a long-term study of participants found people who pursued a Mediterranean diet rich in legumes, vegetables, fish, and monounsaturated oils such as olive oil, while remaining low in fat, beef and dairy products, experienced the lowest risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or even mild cognitive impairments.

Control Your Blood Sugar

For people who do not have diabetes, working to maintain a healthy weight and following a balanced diet can assist in preventing diabetes. Recent research demonstrates that a person's brain functioning slows slightly as a person with diabetes' blood sugar rises and their blood vessels that supply their brain become damaged. The process starts well before any issues with their memory become apparent - perhaps prior to the person receiving a diagnosis of diabetes.

Have a Cup of Something Hot

Teas, such as green or black tea, as well as coffee, have a protective effect on a person's memory; potentially due to influencing enzymes in a person's brain. Caffeine can improve a person's level of concentration as well. People who consumer moderate amounts of coffee during midlife, perhaps three to five cups, experience lower odds of developing dementia at a later point in life. Taking the time to stop and drink a cup of coffee or tea during the day can also provide a good opportunity to relax and ease your stress level.

Green Vegetables Are Our Friends

Even though there is no established anti-Alzheimer's diet, people who have a deficiency of vitamin B12 and folate experience an increased risk for developing dementia. Vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, parsley, mustard greens, broccoli, collard greens, beets, and cauliflower are wonderful sources of folate. Not everyone likes vegetables though - folate can also be found in calf's liver, lentils, pinto beans and black beans.

Ooooohhh Dark Chocolate!

It seems that each year, someone finds another virtue of dark chocolate. The effects of what might be considered a, 'wonder-food,' on a person's memory have not been ignored by researchers. One study found that memory is improved due to a compound called, 'Epicatechin;' potentially due to blood vessel growth. Sounds like a good reason to reach for a piece of dark chocolate. Epicatechin can also be found in grapes, tea, and blueberries.

Treat Depression

Some people still consider depression to be, 'just a mood,' yet untreated depression is not only common - it can impair a person's memory. Anti-depressant medications and talk therapy can assist in treating depression. There are two, 'red flags,' that are very much worth mentioning to a doctor. The first is a loss of interest in things that at one time gave you pleasure. The other is a persistent sense of hopelessness. People who are at a higher risk of experiencing depression include people who have a family history of depression, and caregivers of older people.

Do Not Ignore Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that involves a blockage of a person's airways and can cause a person to briefly stop breathing while they sleep. People who experience sleep apnea demonstrate a decline in brain tissues that store memory according to a UCLA report. Greater than twelve-million people in the United States have obstructive sleep apnea. Should a doctor suggest you have this condition you should diligently pursue treatment. Treatment may involve the wearing of oral appliances and masks as you sleep, losing weight, or perhaps even surgery.

Stop Smoking!

While the relation between smoking and Alzheimer's disease is unclear, what is known is that smokers do develop the disease six or seven years earlier than people who do not smoke. Yet another good reason to stop smoking now.

Take a Nap

As a person sleeps their brain not only sorts through their memories of the day, it consolidates them and stores them. For this reason, eight solid hours of sleep at night is very valuable. However, a short nap - even as little as six-minutes, is just as worthwhile as a full night of sleep where short-term recall is concerned. A ninety-minute nap has been demonstrated to speed-up the process that assists a person's brain to consolidate long-term memory.

The Benefits of Exercise

Exercise, it turns out, can benefit a person's mind as much as the rest of their body according to a number of studies. Cardiovascular fitness also has the ability to reduce the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and obesity; all of which are known risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. The theories as to why spread from improvement in the flow of blood to a person's brain, to a decrease in shrinkage of their brain. A number of experts recommend consistent aerobic exercise. If a person is unable to pursue a regular regimen of aerobic exercise, even small efforts add up. Avoid elevators if you can; park at the far end of the parking lot - walk around the block in the afternoon or evening, and add a few minutes each day.

Look From Side To Side

The next suggestion might sound silly, but it works. In order to help you remember, move your eyes from side to side for around thirty seconds. The exercise may seem odd, but it helps to unite the two hemispheres of your brain according to research. When the two hemispheres of your brain communicate well, you are more able to retrieve certain forms of memories.

Try a Computer Brain Game

Even though the science behind this suggestion is not conclusive, it is promising. The American Geriatric Society has completed a study that demonstrates people over the age of sixty-five who used a computerized cognitive training program for around an hour each day for eight weeks improved their memory and attention spans. Bring on the computer brain games!

Spend Some Time on the Web

A neuroscientist at UCLA's Memory & Aging Center stated that searching the Web is somewhat like using a brain-training course. The research he pursued involved people between the ages of fifty-five and seventy-six. The people who were Internet users demonstrated twice as much brain activity - particularly in relation to decision-making.

Change The Mundane

Routine things in life find a person's brain running on, 'autopilot.' New things in life very literally fire up a person's brain because new information creates and works new neural pathways in a person's brain. Changing the things you do and see every day can be beneficial. If, for example, the background on your computer screen has become stagnant - change it! Take a different way to work, or back home. Read a book on a subject that is new to you and makes you think about new things. You might even try to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.

Avoid Multitasking

Avoid multitasking when you are attempting to learn something that is new to you; people tend to remember less if they are multitasking as they are learning. For example; if you are studying a new subject, do not listen to the radio at the same time. Your memory recall might help you to remember information you are studying, but you may not be able to replicate the same circumstances - such as the same songs in the order they were played, when you wish to recall the information. Learn new things when you are able to focus on it completely and with your full concentration. Remove any distractions such as a radio or television.

Do NOT Retire

A lot of people do not want to quit working, or cannot afford to quit. For people who like to work, good news! It actually helps your brain to remain working as long as possible. A work life that is satisfying provides a person with not only social stimulation, but decision-making opportunities, as well as exercises in problem-solving. The next best thing to a satisfying job is a volunteer opportunity. Volunteering at a museum or a school where the training involved offers the opportunity to learn new things and tasks is very beneficial, as well as providing opportunities for social interaction.

Everything Where It Belongs

Even though new experiences are like growth hormones to a person's brain, a person's memory also needs a certain amount of things that are familiar for their life to move along smoothly. Keep your glasses and other similar items in the same place all the time. Write notes to yourself to remind you of things - it helps with your ability to recall. If, for example, you want to remember to take your hat with you the next morning, place on the table next to the door so you do not miss it.

Party Down

Interacting with other people lowers your risk of developing dementia. There is a catch though - the people you interact with should be one's who enjoy being around, feel engaged with, and stimulated by. People who are physically or emotionally isolated have a higher risk of experiencing depression.

Be sure to take is easy where drinking alcohol at those parties is concerned, however. Studies related to the effects of alcohol on memory have produced mixed results. One of the things that is clear is that excessive long-term drinking over long periods of time is linked with dementia. Another clear result of studies is that binge drinking impairs a person's short-term memory.

People who drink in moderation; however, can actually experience a protective effect. By, 'drinking in moderation, ' researchers mean approximately one drink per day. A study has found that people who have a mild cognitive impairment who drink less than one drink per day progressed to dementia at a rate eighty-five percent slower than those who did not drink at all.

Related Information:

  1. Dealing with Bad Memories and Emotions - Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology - (Apr 19, 2014)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/psychological/bad-memories.php
  2. Restoring Memory by Repairing Damaged Brains - USC Viterbi School of Engineering - (Jul 01, 2011)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/brain/restoring-memory.php
  3. Researchers Find Caffeine Enhances Memory - Johns Hopkins University - (Jan 18, 2014)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/brain/enhances.php




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