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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.

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