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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Consult a neurologist to preserve your memory

As we age, our memory gets weaker.

it is one implicit assumption For many of us; However, neuroscientist Dr. According to Richard Restack, impaired It is not inevitable.

The author of more than 20 books on the mind, Restak has decades of experience in counseling patients with memory problems.

“The Complete Guide to Memory: The Science of Strengthening Your Mind,” Restak’s latest book covers tool Such as mental exercise, sleep habits and diet that can help improve memory.

However, ReStack ventures beyond this familiar territory, considering every aspect of memory:

what is memory associated with creative thinkingThe impact of technology on memory, how memory shapes identity.

“The purpose of the book is solve everyday problems Of memory,” Restak said.

particularly working memory, which lies between immediate memory and long-term memory, and is associated with intelligence, Concentration and achievement.

According to Restak, this is the most important type of memory, and exercise should be done daily to strengthen it.

But strengthening all memory skills, he said, is the key to avoiding memory problems later.

Memory decline is not inevitable with aging, Restek argues in the book.

Instead, he explains 10″ sin” or “blocks of barriers that can lead to lost or distorted memories.”

The seven were first described by psychologist and memory specialist Daniel Lawrence Scheater: “sins of omission,” such as distractionand “Sins of the Commission”, such as Memories pervert,

For those, Restock added three of his own: Technical distraction, technical distraction and depression.

as a last resort, “We are what we can remember”Told.

Here are some of Restek’s tips for developing and maintaining a healthy memory.

Pay more attention

Some memory lapses are actually attention problems, not memory problems.

For example, if you forgot the name of someone you met at a cocktail party, it could be because you were talking to a lot of people at the time and didn’t pay attention when you heard it.

“Inattention is the main cause of memory difficulties,” Restak said.

“it means that you didn’t code memory correctly.

a way to pay attention when learning new information like names Imagine the word.

Having an image attached to the word can improve memory, Restak said.

For example, he recently had to remember the name of a doctor, Dr. King (an easy example, he admitted).

So he imagined a male doctor “in a white coat crown on head And a scepter instead of a stethoscope in hand.”

Explore daily memory challenges on a regular basis.

There are many memory exercises that you can integrate into everyday life.

Restak suggested drafting Shopping list and remember it,

When you arrive at the store, don’t automatically remove your inventory (or your phone); Instead, collect everything according to your memory.

“try the see the elements in your mind,” he said, and refer to the list at the end if necessary.

If you don’t go to the store, try to remember a recipe.

He adds that frequent cooking is actually a great way to improve working memory.

sometimes get in the car without turning on GPS And try to navigate the streets by heart.

A small 2020 study suggested that people who used GPS more often over time showed more pronounced cognitive decline in spatial memory after three years.

play.

games like this bridge and chess They’re great for memory, but it’s a simple game, Restak said.

For example, Raystack’s “favorite working memory game” is 20 questionsin which one group (or one person) thinks about a person, place, or thing, and another person, the questioner, asks 20 yes or no questions.

Because to be successful, he said, the interrogator must remember everything previous answers To guess the correct answer.

One of Restock’s tried-and-true memory exercises requires just a pen and paper or an audio recorder.

First, remember all US presidents, starting with President Joe Biden and going back to, e.g., Franklin D. Roosevelt, by writing or recording them.

Then do the same from FDR to Biden.

Next, name only Democratic presidents and only Republican ones.

Finally, name them alphabetically.

If you like, try it with players from your favorite sports team Or with your favorite authors.

The point is to enclose your working memory, “Catch the information and carry it in your mindRestak wrote.

Read more novels.

An early indicator of memory problems, according to Restack, is stopping reading novels.

“People, when they start having trouble with memory, turn to reading” non-fiction“, Told.

During his decades of treating patients, Restack has found that imagination requires a active engagement With text, work from beginning to end.

“You have to remember what the character did on page 3 until you got to page 11,” he said.

Be careful with technology.

Two of Raystack’s three new memory sins are related to technology.

First is what he calls “technical distortion”,

Storing everything on your phone means “you don’t know,” Restak said, which can destroy our own psychic abilities.

He wrote, “Why bother focusing, focusing, and visualizing something when a cell phone camera can do all the work for you?”

Another way is that our association with technology is detrimental to memory because we often distract us task at hand.

“In our day, the biggest barrier to memory is distraction,” Restak wrote.

Since many of these tools are designed with the goal of making Addiction to the person using them and, as a result, we are often distracted by them.

People can see their email while viewing today NetflixTalk to a friend or take a walk on the street.

All of this impairs our ability to focus on the present moment, which is important for encoding memories.

Work with a mental health professional if needed.

you mood It plays an important role in what you remember or don’t remember.

depressionFor example, can reduce memory too much.

“One of the major reasons people are referred to neurologists for memory problems is depression,” Restack said.

Your emotional state affects the types of memories you remember.

sea ​​horse (or the “memory input center,” according to Restack) and the amygdala (the part of the brain that handles emotions and emotional behavior) are linked, so “when you’re in a bad mood or depressed, you tend to do things.” Remember sad,” Restak said.

Treating depression, either chemically or through psychotherapy, often restores memory as well.

Determine if there is cause for concern.

Throughout his career, Restack has been asked by dozens of patients about how they can improve their memory.

But not all memory lapses are problematic.

For example, it’s quite common not to remember where you parked your car in a crowded parking lot.

However, forgetting how you got to the parking spot in the first place indicates potential memory problems.

Restock said there is no easy solution to the concern.

A lot depends on the context.

For example, it’s normal to forget your hotel room number, but not your apartment address.

If you are concerned, it is best to consult a medical specialist.

(Hope Reese is a journalist who writes for Vox, Shondaland, The Atlantic and other publications)

c.2022 The New York Times Company

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