Mild forgetfulness is a normal part of the ageing process. But when does this occasional lapse into inattention become cause for concern? Is there anything we can do to reduce or even prevent these occurrences? Medical News Today spoke with experts about how to distinguish between normal memory lapses and neurocognitive issues like dementia. As well as research into how we can keep our ageing brains alert.
“It is not normal as we age to develop cognitive issues and short-term memory loss. As is well known, many elderly people do not develop this problem.”
Dr. MacSweeney added that more frequent memory lapses as we age are not always indicative of cognitive impairment.
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When should you seek assistance?
People with MCI have mild memory and thinking problems, but they can usually care for themselves and go about their daily lives.
MCI symptoms may include:
forgetting about appointments or social events
misplacing household items, such as car keys, clothing, or other objects
having greater difficulty finding the right words than peers of the same age
having trouble remembering events, instructions, or conversations.
A healthy diet and way of life
Word games, such as crossword puzzles, have long been promoted in the popular press as a way to keep your mind sharp, but there has been little evidence to support this claim until recently.
Peer-reviewed journals rely on this reliable source.
A new study published in the journal NEJM Evidence has shown that they are effective in a small group of people with MCI.
For 12 weeks, the participants, who had an average age of 71 and mild cognitive impairment, did either intensive crossword puzzle training or intensive cognitive games training on a computer. Booster sessions were continued for a total of 78 weeks.
Is it possible to recover from memory loss?
So, you can reduce your risk of memory problems, but can the problem be reversed once the memory begins to fail?
There is some evidence to suggest that it is possible. Trusted Source researchers used chondroitin-6-sulphate to reverse memory loss in mice, a substance that has also been shown to increase lifespan in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. It may have similar effects in humans, but this has yet to be proven.