ANSWERS: 28
  • Some details: for some time now, I've been developing various strategies to help me remember things -- what I'm supposed to be working on, important things other people tell me about themselves, TO-DO lists, etc. All of these seem harmless when viewed one at a time, but when taken as a whole there is a LOT of work that I have to do that others don't seem to need in order to remember ordinary things. Today I realized that my fear of memory loss is preventing me from taking more effective action: going to the doctor, confronting the test results or possible bad news about the future, etc. All of my grandparents had Alzheimers, and my father has it (my mother died of cancer, so I don't know if she would have gotten it). But none of them had it this early. So I'm posting in order to shut up the nagging voice that says this is a private matter others don't need to know about me, and to get input from others about the problem. I've been afraid enough of what the future might hold that I've come up with quite a few rationalizations and explanations: "oh, everybody has trouble when they get older", or "maybe if you cared more you'd try harder to remember", or "you've been relying on the computer for so long that your memory has atrophied". Anything sounds better than "you are losing your memory, and will become cognitively non-functional in a few years". My biggest concern is that I'm a computer programmer, and there's a LOT of things that one must remember in order to be productive (i.e. not having to look everything up all the time). My productivity has been falling quite visibly in the last 2 years or so, as I have to spend more time in the documentation than I ever had to in the past. If I can't be productive in my primary skill, I may have to transition to another career. The good news is that I'm good with people, so could conceivably manage other programmers rather than doing the work myself -- IF I can remember what THEY are supposed to be working on! :) So thanks for any input on the topic.
  • I'm glad you posted your concern so that it escapes the confines of your mind. Obviosuly, you know the best course of action. A qualified physician can answer questions for you no one else can. I recently took the plunge after ten years and had a complete work-up done; sometimes seeing numbers and hearing the information can inspire someone to act. Some of the answers I liked, some I didn't and one situation is still being evaluated. But at least I know. And knowledge is power. It has amazing power over fear, whose greatest trick is being able to isolate and immobilize. After a certain age, some memory loss is natural and inevitable, though it can be combatted with exercise, diet and mind-sharpening hobbies. If you've noticed what you instinctively know to be unnatural or progressed memory loss, you know you need to address the situation. Below are link to the Alzhiemer's Health Assistance Foundation, a great resource full of information. On that site I read that familial Alzheimer's is a relatively rare condition, affecting about 10% of all Alzheimer's sufferers. Gentetic testing may be able to determine is someone falls into that catogory. http://www.alzinfo.org/Understanding-Alzheimers-Disease.asp?mtc=google&kwd=memory_loss&gclid=CLr3keOah48CFQ9EgQodIi7Qvg Another interesting article is about statins and their link to increased memory function. Interesting reading: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/fishman/2005/statins_memory.html I'm sure I'm not the only one on this site to consider you keenly incisive and full of pertinent and abundant information. But if you think there's a problem, this the response to posting it in public: Face it. Do it for you and for you family. You may find your fears assuaged. At the very least, you may find tools you need to maintain your good health. Good luck.
  • go easy on the booze and tell the ladies not to harass you too much. the truth is people that overworked their brain too much in their younger age,tend to forget things much easier.
  • Hey SB -- I know this really is a concerning topic for everyone as they age. I worked for 12 years in a retirement community that had many levels of care, including an special area for folks with dementia. I watched many of our residents develop the signs and behaviors of those diseases, as well saw many elders who were sharp as a tack well into their 90s and 100s. I can tell you that it is a normal part of aging to lose your ability to multi-task as effectively. It is also normal to misplace items like your car keys, forget appointments, leave the oven on, etc. The real big clue for dementia is when you get disoriented to time or place (i.e. not knowing the day of the week, time of day, who's the current US President, where you are/came from/are going, etc.). Things that help maintain your mental agility are things like crossword puzzles -- but I'm sure your programming skills cause you to exercise that method of thinking on a regular basis. Definitely go to a doctor, in light of your family history, because if there are early symptoms there are medications available that can now stave off the effects of dementia for a considerable amount of time. Another thing to consider, which I'll just throw out there based on my personal experience but which also may be completely irrelevant, is that sometimes depression can manifest the same symptoms you've described. When I was going through a major depression I couldn't track what I needed to do in a day, decide what -- or how -- I should approach any problem-solving, or remember the mental gyrations I'd actually manged to go through when I finally muddled my way through. I'm a "systems" person in the way I view the world, and that ability vanished (which really sucked since I was a Network Administrator at the time). The one thing that I've always been able to rely on, my ability to "see" solutions in my head and be an effective troubleshooter as a result, no longer worked and I tried to cope by writing lists. The day I got lost driving somewhere I'd been many times before, pulled out the map, found where I was on it, and realized that I couldn't interpret anything useful from it (I normally have a great sense of direction and am a whiz with maps), was the day I realized I needed professional help. Now I feel like "me" again. <whew!> Best of luck -- and hang in there!
  • Stableboy, even if it's not anything as serious as Alzheimer's Disease this is exactly the sort of thing to let your doctor know about so that he/she can keep tabs on it. Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds like what you're describing is a loss of focus/attention combined with a reduced ability to retain fine detail. That's a real problem and something to keep an eye on, but it's not an irreplaceable loss like some kinds of memory decay. Not as much as if you were losing objects, wandering, or blanking out recent events. I'd be a lot more worried if that was happening. For something like this you can retrain your brain, with a little extra work, and possibly with some of the changes in diet that Momma Bear recommends. I would also look at the following: - How much sleep are you getting, and is it *good* sleep? Could there be any conditions like Sleep Apnea that are affecting your sleep? - Not for you to answer here, but how happy are you in your job? Are you stressed out? Bored? Do you "perk up", mentally, when you're doing something more stimulating for you? Could this be some other problem in your job or otherwise that's manifesting itself in this way? Depression can also interfere with your mental functioning, if that's a problem for you. - Let your doctor know about any other symptoms even if they seem unrelated. I believe a problem elsewhere in your system could still affect your mental functioning in this way. On another note, I work with very old people on a regular basis, people 80 and above, who are *very* mentally sharp. To a person, they have this in common: - they are socially active (or just talk a lot ;) - they actively pursue hobbies or causes - they stay physically active (some VERY physically active!) - they pursue mental activities like reading, puzzles, brain twisters, sudoku, or even card games like bridge Good genes are at work there as well, but they aren't everything.
  • I have heard that doing things like crosswords, wordfind games, even sudoku can help stimulate the brain and improve memory. I have a hard time remembering things if I don't write them down (always have had problems with that). Perhaps it is just a matter of a busy life and you just need to carry a small notebook and pencil with you to write down the things you need to remember. Don't know if that helps much but I hope it helps some. If you have serious memory loss issues that you don't believe are simply caused by stress and a busy lifestyle then please see your doctor. It could be nothing but if it is something we wouldn't want to lose such a great mind like yours!
  • Well, the first thing you have to do is, uh...I'm sorry, what was the question?
  • Exercise your mind, eat foods with curry, and get plenty of rest.
  • Give your mind some excercise :) The more you think, the more your memories strengthen, its when you stop reading or stop thinking logically, that your memory begins to fade..
  • keep up socially avoid drinking avoid drugs avoid mindless television and video games read a book maybe take a random class that you think you'll enjoy just keep your mind active even do sudokus or crossword puzzles or things just dont sit at home and do nothing all day also, eating right and exercising is important too! good luck! (if you're really worried, go to a doctor, he or she might be able to prescribe something to slow the rate of decay)
  • What was the question again...oh yeah, I think one contributing factor is as our lives fill up there is more to track and capacity wise a few things spillout of the cup now and then. Ok, that was over simplifying, get good rest, use a list or planner to release your mind from remembering trivial items. Try to lighten your schedule if possible, put common items in the same place so you aren't searching constantly for glasses, keys, wallets, etc. and keep your nutrition up. If it's more serious than that talk to your Doc.
  • Sorry to hear about that - it must be really frustrating for you. A good simple way to keep sharp is to avoid getting in a rut with anything. Each time you do something unfamiliar e.g. driving to work by a different route than usual or brushing your teeth with the 'wrong' hand, your brain is in a heightened state of activity which causes new neural pathways to open up. If you want to stimulate your brain, do things in fresh ways whenever possible, and try to be involved in a wide variety of different hobbies and activities. Try new things whenever you can. This kind of mental training is part of what's called 'Neurobics' [great name, right?]. Find out more about neurobics at http://www.neurobics.com/exercise.html Hope everything works out well for you :)
  • Hi, if you drink or do drugs well theres your answer. Both cause preature memory loss.
  • I know this comes so much later, Stableboy, and I hope you've found various ways and methods to improve your memory; but I wanted to share this with you. One thing that has helped me focus (ADD) my thoughts and improve my memory is supplementing my nutrition with magnesium (350 to 400mg). From a 2004 study: Along with its many other functions in the body, magnesium may also help maintain learning and memory in middle age and beyond, according to a study in the Dec. 2 issue of Neuron. Scientists already knew that magnesium helps build bones, regulate body temperature, produce proteins and release energy stored in muscles. The new study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers found that magnesium also helps regulate a key brain receptor that plays an important role in learning and memory. The finding indicates that magnesium deficiency may result in reduced ability to learn and memorize, while cognitive function may be improved by an abundance of magnesium. "Our study shows maintaining proper magnesium in the cerebrospinal fluid is essential for maintaining the plasticity of synapses," the study authors wrote. Synapses are the connections among brain cells. Plasticity, which refers to the ability to change, is vital to the brain's ability to learn and remember.
  • Read books, work crossword puzzles, anything to keep your mind active. Once its gone, its gone.
  • What kind of memory loss are you experiencing now that you weren't experiencing before?
  • I have used neuromins, and my memory has improved greatly. I also drink organic apple cider vinagar with water. This keeps me alert and healthy always and has been very helpful with my memory, skin, all around health.
  • Do analytical games like trivial pursuit, scrabble and even selected video games. Plus my psychology professor said to think about old stories of your childhood (positive ones) and after and tell the stories to others.
  • Go to http://spacedoc.net it just might change your life. It did mine. Cholesterol medicine kills a lot more people than cholesterol. Also go to http://genesistodayproducts.net and go to the Homocysteins link.
  • Omega 3 oils are supposed to help. EHA, DHA, and ginkgo biloba are supposed to be supplements for the brain.
  • Ginseng if I remember correctly
  • Why not get checked out and request a CT Scan or an MRI Scan - at least you will find out if its anything organic or not. In the mean-time, lay off alcohol, and invest in some Omega 3 fish oil tabs, they are said to be useful, good luck
  • Conversation Thinking differently Attaching more emotion to your memories Doing more during the day. You're only 49. I honestly believe you might just be paranoid.
  • There are several products that are helping the body age slower. Every day over 39 our production of Human Growth Hormone reduced along with the bodies ability to rebuild its cells. Using amino acids to stimulate the body to kick up production of GH naturally is the answer. Check it out! Go to www.hpyouthformula.com/drpennino to get info and order. Dr. Bob
  • Worry less and enjoy life more and then you will have more good things to remember!
  • I think your health may need an overhaul. Try taking Co Enzyme Q10, Carnitine, Alpha Lipoic Acid and Selenium. I burned my brain out from doing too much meth before and I was afraid I had no braincells left. I fixed a lot of that by supplementing and staying away from processed foods. I take Kefir yoghurt and Spirulina and I swear ther are times I feel like I'm 20 again. These things really do rejuvenate but they can't cure.
  • Here are some tips: 1. be more physically and creatively active. 2. socialize more 3. get plenty of regular sleep. It can reduce stress and lets you focus more. 4. eat 'brain foods' 5. If you're on medication, research the side effects of the drugs that you're taking. sources: http://www.elementsofmemory.com http://www.memoryonfire.com http://trevorponder.com
  • Book = Brain Builders!: a lifelong guide to sharper thinking, better memory, and an age-proof mind. They have a lot of WEIRD suggestions. Some are good. Most are kinda like if you want to go those lengths. Book = anything by Larry Lorayne Exercise and puzzles. Neurobionics = google it. Journal/ take a notebook with you and jot down thoughts ideas and observations. Read books on anything you are interested in and keep quizing yourself after every chapter. Hobbies. Learn more vocabulary. Mazes.

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