What Can I Do to Prevent Memory Loss?

Monday, 06 May 2013 10:25 AM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: Is there anything I can do to prevent of memory loss?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
Many of the new medications for Alzheimer's disease can help slow memory loss by targeting the buildup of amyloid proteins in the brain, which can cause cognitive impairment. These medications appear to work only as long as they are started early enough, and they help maintain and prevent further damage to the memory banks. We have no drugs that will return lost memory. But these medications do retard the rate of decline in memory.
 
There is much evidence to show that an active, involved mind is the optimal drug-free prevention tactic for memory loss. Simple tasks such as reading, doing puzzles, and performing calculations help keep the brain refreshed and functioning well. Inactivity is not conducive to optimal memory function. Sleep deprivation is harmful to memory retention, and regular healthy sleep hygiene is essential for a healthy memory. We know now that nerve tissue can continue to grow, and it appears that its function improves with use, not with lack of use.
 
Here are 10 keys to good memory:
 
1)     Good nutrition.
 
2)     Optimal sleep hygiene.
 
3)     Keeping your circulatory system healthy.
 
4)     Getting regular exercise.
 
5)     Protection from impact injury (i.e., a bicycle helmet).
 
6)     Frequent and regular use of memory-intensive tasks.
 
7)     Stress management.
 
8)     Avoidance of known harmful substances: alcohol, cigarettes, drugs.
 
9)     Controlling depression and other mental health problems.
 
10) Maintaining social interaction.
 
Be sure to feed your brain by preventing vascular disease; avoid smoking and reduce excess alcohol use. Use supplements that are needed only for known vitamin deficiencies. Remember, vitamins are a part of our bodies’ chemical makeup, so an excess can upset the overall vitamin balance and in some cases can be as harmful as having a deficiency.
Protect your brain from injury by wearing protection such as a helmet when you ride a bike or play impact sports.

Special: How One Deck of Cards Has Shown to Improve Memory.

Maintain your general health through regular exercise and improved brain function will result. Manage your emotional health and your physical health will be rewarded with improved memory function.

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