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Introduction to Memory Problems

Memory Problems

Memory problems are common. Everyone's memory can fail them at one time or another. Have you ever: forgotten the name of someone you just met; been unable to put a name to the face of a neighbor you saw at the movies; failed to get the one item you actually went to the market to buy; forgotten your new phone number at work; missed the birthday of someone for whom you already bought a card; forgotten where you parked the car at the mall; missed a Doctor's appointment; or forgotten to take the 8 pm dose of medication? Don't feel too bad -  you're not alone.

Memory occurs in the brain, but it is not limited by the brain. Many things around us influence our ability to make and retrieve memories. Physiological, emotional, social, and environmental processes, as well as by cognitive processes other than memory per se (e.g., perception, reasoning, decision making), are now accepted as affecting memory functioning in everyday life. Physiologically, memory is affected by fatigue...More

Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

What should I know about memory problems?

  • Memory problems are common and everyone's memory can fail them at one time or another.
  • Memory occurs in the brain, but it is not limited by the brain. Many things around us influence our ability to make and retrieve memories.
  • Through practice of mental and other activities, a variety of efforts can be made to lessen memory problems.
  • In many cases, memory loss is just a normal part of the aging process, a side effect of medication or a symptom of a treatable disease.
  • The term dementia describes a group of symptoms that are caused by changes in brain function.
  • Damage to any part of the brain can cause a cognitive disorder, which is a "catch all" term used to describe impairment in any one (or all) of the thinking skills.

For more information

News Articles

  • Health Tip: What Causes Memory Loss?

    The agency says anything that affects the processes of thinking and learning can affect memory. More...

  • Health Tip: Should You Be Worried About Memory Loss?

    It's taking you longer than it once did to learn a new task. Or you've forgotten about today's doctor's appointment. Should you be worried? More...

  • 'Stress Hormone' Tied to Worse Memory in Middle Age

    Middle-aged people with higher-than-average levels of the "stress" hormone cortisol may have fuzzier memories, a new study suggests. More...

  • 1 in 9 U.S. Adults Over 45 Reports Memory Problems

    If you're middle-aged and you think you're losing your memory, you're not alone, a new U.S. government report shows. More...

  • Eyes May Be Window Into Future Memory Loss

    By looking deeply into your eyes, doctors might be able to predict your future risk for dementia and memory loss. More...

  • 5 More
    • Wartime Bomb Blasts May Lead to Memory Problems

      U.S. veterans who had close calls with bomb blasts during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are now having memory problems, a new study has found. More...

    • Cognitive Training Aids Memory in People With Mild Impairment

      Cognitive training improves memory in older patients with mild cognitive impairment, according to a study published Jan. 4 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Getting Active Could Help Boost Memory, Experts Say

      Physical activity is good for the body and the brain, but what about people with thinking and memory difficulties? More...

    • Could an Electric Pulse to the Brain Recharge Your Memory?

      Carefully targeted deep brain stimulation might one day enhance long-term memory, a small study suggests. More...

    • New Clues to Preventing Memory Loss From MS

      Mentally active lifestyle can help preserve brain function, researchers say. More...

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