Coronary Artery Disease and Its Risk Factors

What's bad for your heart is also bad for your brain. Conditions that are risk factors for cerebrovascular disease and heart disease, such as high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes, increase the risk of memory problems. Controlling these disorders with medication, dietary changes, and exercise can help keep your memory in optimal condition. High Cholesterol. If your total cholesterol level is high, you're more likely to suffer memory problems in the years ahead than if the level is what...

What Is Memory

When we talk about memory, we mean not only all that we remember but also our capacity for remembering. You might think that an optimal memory is a huge database that faithfully records and securely stores all that you have learned and experienced in your life. But actually, that wouldn't be optimal at all. Not all memories are created equal. Some are meant to be retained for just a short time and then discarded. Imagine if you carried in your head every phone number you ever dialed or the time...

Vitamins

A strong link in the diet-memory connection seems to be with the B vitamins folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. These vitamins are not naturally produced within the body and must be obtained from food or supplements. B-complex vitamins are found in brewer's yeast, liver, whole-grain cereals, rice, nuts, milk, eggs, meats, fish, fruits, leafy green vegetables, and other foods. People with deficiencies in some or all of these vitamins are at greater risk of age-related memory impairment as well...

Memory Myth Alcohol Destroys Memory

Large amounts of alcohol are toxic to the brain, but small amounts appear to be beneficial. In recent studies, people who consumed alcohol in moderation had a reduced rate of Alzheimer's disease compared with people who did not drink at all. The exact mechanism of alcohol's beneficial effect is uncertain. One hypothesis is that alcohol reduces cardiovascular risk factors by altering blood lipids. Another hypothesis is that alcohol stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in...

Insomnia

Staying up late of your own free will is one thing. But what if you're trying to get a good night's sleep and can't Insomnia takes different forms. Onset insomnia refers to difficulty establishing sleep common causes include anxiety and racing thoughts. Middle insomnia refers to middle-of-the-night awakening and an inability to return to sleep within a reasonable time. This type of problem is typical of people experiencing chronic pain, which may rouse them from the midst of slumber. Early...

Illicit Drug

Marijuana, ecstasy, and other illegal drugs can impair memory and related brain functions. The effects are not only evident while the drugs are being used but can persist for weeks and months afterward. The active substance in marijuana, Delta -tetrahydrocannabinol, engenders psychoactive effects by attaching to receptors in the brain for cannabinoid. Cannabinoid receptors are plentiful in the hippocampus, amygdala, and cerebral cortex, 90, regions that are crucial for forming memories. People...

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD

Some people who experience severe psychological trauma develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition characterized by recur- T3_ ring, intrusive memories of the traumatic event. These memories are highly persistent and interfere with the process of acquiring new information, consolidating memories, and remembering information that is unrelated to the trauma. Sustained levels of stress stimulate the release of a hormone called Cortisol, which can ultimately damage brain structures that are...

Memory Disorders

One morning in June 2002, a young man named Steven arrived at my office for an evaluation, having been referred by his primary care physician. Steven was pleasant and amiable, and he easily made conversation. Although he had difficulty providing detail about his history, he was able to tell me that he had been having memory problems since being injured in a motor vehicle accident six months earlier. He spoke somewhat vaguely about his current circumstances where he was living, family members in...

New Drugs Under Study

There are many compounds under development for treating Alzheimer's disease and other memory disorders. Some of the experimental compounds work on the same principle as the medications available today. But several others work in completely different ways and hold the potential of actually preventing or reversing dementia and other memory disorders. I join other memory doctors and our patients in the hope and expectation that one or more of these new medications will yield greater benefits than...

Memory Loss Following Heart Surgery

More than 500,000 Americans undergo coronary artery bypass surgery each year for the treatment of angina and vascular insufficiency. People who've undergone bypass surgery for heart disease often have trouble concentrating and remembering. The exact cause of these cognitive problems is not clear, but there are probably many factors. They include the impact of anesthesia and major surgery, disruption of oxygen flow to the brain during the procedure, damage to blood vessels, and a generalized...

Normal Versus Abnormal Forgetting

Tests of memory and related cognitive functions can help distinguish memory disorders from normal, age-related memory loss. And make no mistake age-related memory loss is not a disorder. However, two memory disorders mild cognitive impairment and dementia do become more common with age, leading memory researchers to wonder if there is any relationship between them and age-related memory loss. Experts disagree about the answer. Some say that mild cognitive impairment and dementia are entirely...

The Rashomon Effect

A concern voiced frequently by my patients has to do with their recall of a particular event that diverges widely from the recollection of someone else who was there. For example, a man I'll call Paul recently came to me for a consultation because he was extremely upset that he had been unable to remember an episode that occurred during a family Thanksgiving gathering two years ago. He and his sister were reminiscing and she mentioned the incident, characterizing it as a knock-down, drag-out...