While not specifically a modern day disease, memory loss is a fast becoming an ascending trend in a digital age. Whether this is the culmination of diet, longevity, amyloid deposits, smartphones, losing a volleyball match, blaspheming, or physical and mental pressures, unusual forgetfulness or amnesia is a worrisome pathology which totters self-confidence, instills angst or terror, and even intimidates independence.
Types of memory
Discussions loiter as to the equitable categorization of memory retrieval. Amnesia is singularized via divisions which may or may not overlap or intertwine. The most regnant and universally touted memory groupings are:
- Sensory memory – echoic (auditory), iconic (visual), gustatory (taste), olfactory (smell) and haptic (touch).
- Short term memory – working memory (WM) translates verbal (phonological loop), and visual and spatial (visuospatial sketch pad) information in a time-span of seconds.
- Long term memory – enables semi-permanent or permanent information caching.
- Implicit (non-declarative) encompasses all erudite skills and insensate recollections. Within this group, four sub-types of memory exist. Associative, non-associative, priming, and procedural.
- Explicit (declarative) recollection of facts, sentiments or milestones.
Types of memory loss
With the above-mentioned erudition it is uncomplicated to understand the multifarious types of memory loss. Further on, causes and therapeutics are mulled over to vouchsafe an unabbreviated grasp of this disquieting problem. However, not all amnesia is pathological and a dissimilitude should be made between elementary forgetfulness and true amnesia. The following signs are median and befall everyone at some time or other.
- Suggestibility: In a motor crash most eyewitnesses have a different fable to divulge. If one eavesdrops on the account of another witness, their memories of this scene might be ‘filled in’ by the heedfulness of another person.
- Misattribution: Returning to the same example, one might believe this occurred at a different time or neck of the woods, or involved an unalike person. Similarly, remembering that a friend or family member also witnessed an event when this is not the case is also possible.
- Absentmindedness: When close enough attention has not been paid, it is easier to forget. This happens regularly in stressful situations.
- Transience: Over time, without returning to the subject in question, memories can be lost. Sometimes they spring up at an inopportune moment. This is not a pathologic sign but a common occurrence which is actually helpful, like clearing a computer of unused files and malware.
- Blocking: The phrase ‘on the tip of the tongue’ is an example of blocking. Often, other memories come to the surface which is stronger than the one that is required.
- Bias: Personal experiences, feelings and beliefs can change memory. Again, this is a common happening and not something to cause worry.
When memory loss causes frequent upsets and is not simple forgetfulness as in the above-mentioned cases this worry can make symptoms worse through the additional factor of stress. Often, the opportunity to take breaks from today’s busy world and add calming natural medicines can ease symptoms. Types of memory loss disease are:
- Retrograde: The loss of existing earlier memories. If it is impossible to recall items which formerly played a major part in reminiscence, this could be a sign of a more serious pathology.
- Anterograde: The inability to create new memories, most often coupled to head injury and intoxication. Long term anterograde amnesia might point towards trauma at the site of the hippocampus.
- Transient global amnesia (TGA): Thought to result from mini seizures within the brain, this form relates to a period of confusion and an agitated state that can last for longer periods. Memory loss before, during and after TGA is possible.
- Infantile: Many people can not remember their first years of life, while others remember sitting in a stroller. This is not a condition one should be apprehensive about.
Signs of memory loss
Loss of memory has a plethora of causes which can be cumulative or are enough, on their own, to impinge upon daily activities and states of mind.
- Brain trauma, strokes, and concussion can damage those parts of the central nervous system responsible for conscious and unconscious memory.
- Psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and stress, are common factors.
- Oxidative stress can lead to memory loss as it partially anesthetizes glutamatergic transmission. This oxidation process is further responsible for forgetfulness in cases of acute and chronic disease, pharmacological side-effects and ageing.
- Increasing age in combination with cognitive decline is often correlated with depression and memory loss. It is therefore difficult to pinpoint a single antecedent.
- Poor diets with too little B vitamins and other micro- and macronutrients have been associated with memory loss.
- Pharmacological side effects occasionally cause blackouts or longer term amnesia.
- Extremely emotional times can affect memory. This is more a case of bias and absentmindedness and is usually temporary, needing time to recover from a death in the family circle or very bad news, for example. Anxiety and memory loss often go hand in hand.
- Pathological processes which include atherosclerosis, metabolic disorders and lowered oxygen levels can cause irreversible memory loss. Omega-3 and 6 supplements are taken to prevent fatty buildup in the arteries.
What helps with memory loss?
Knowing how to treat memory loss and using memory improvement tips can ameliorate symptoms. Short-term memory loss treatment might be a simple as changing medication, enjoying high or low-intensity physical exercise, or integrating yoga or meditation sessions into daily activities. Long-term memory loss disease treatment, often due to trauma, chronic illness or senility, may require a combination of relaxation techniques and drugs for memory loss, such as cholinesterase inhibitors, memantine, modafinil, donepezil and methylphenidate. Memory loss pills and potions pepper the Internet but not all have proven effective. Similarly, memory loss supplements should be sufficiently researched as to the quality of materials, their potential side-effects, and probable interactions with other prescribed medication. It is worthwhile trying natural memory loss medication together with stress-relieving activities, as this often solves the problem.
Memory loss may be treated by dietary means; there are innumerable foods that improve memory including omega-3 fatty acids, high antioxidant fruits (berries) and curcumin. Other applauded methods include the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) regimens, and intermittent fasting. A suitable diet may simultaneously render medication for memory loss or memory loss pills unnecessary. Paleontological evidence shows an interrelationship between correct nutrition and brain size, as does a coastal diet high in docosahexaenoic acid, found in excessive fish and other seafood diets. More recent studies show the importance of gut microbiota on memory. What we put into our mouths may, therefore, influence how we remember our past and learn from the world around us.
When buying food supplements or vitamins to improve memory, the majority of research agrees that supplementation intensifies the ability to hold on to and retrieve knowledge. Supplements induce an optimal effect only in combination with a healthy diet, safe environment, and physical exercise. When this is the case, extra vitamins are a practical method of gaining nutrients, especially when one is limited to a calorie-controlled eating plan.
Otherwise known as nutraceutical therapy, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids such as tyrosine and glutamate regularly prove to have an impact where improved memorization, recognition, and retrospection are concerned.
The B vitamins, specifically B6, B9 (folate), and B12 (cyanocobalamin) all play a part in homocysteine metabolism, lowering levels of this amino acid which has been linked to cognitive degeneration. Vitamin E rich foods decelerate the oxidation process while vitamin D may also have a similar effect. Undernourished children in an Australian study were supplemented with a micronutrient mix of iron, zinc, folate, DHA, EPA and vitamins A, B-6, B-12, and C and verbal learning and memory were significantly increased.
Macro- and micro-nutrition should therefore not be cast aside in the search for a cure for amnesia but taken into full consideration. Prescription short term memory loss medication, as well as long term memory loss medication, without the addition of known pathologic modus operandi treatment, can genesis telling side effects and should nevermore be self-regulated. On the contrary, natural memory loss supplements have very few side effects.