Are you forgetting things more often than usual? Worried about getting dementia / Alzheimer\’s? is your grasping capability consistently decreasing?
Memory is like a glue that holds together our experiences, thoughts and expressions in the absence of it there would not be any meaning of our past and future. It is the record of what has happened in our awareness. It is the perception retention storage and retrieval of events, words, visual scenarios- information. Most of us have sometime or other complained of forgetfullness, temporarily or momentarily. A common example is when a person is unable to recall where he/she had kept his keys or objects of daily use. Forgetting to buy things from market despite being reminded is another example or forgetting a meeting etc..
For memory, attention is the backbone for adequate electrical etching of events in brain memory areas. Memory of events in one’s own life is called episodic memory or autobiographical memory. When the events are not in once personal life but are in the knowledge of a person that is called semantic memory – a memory of facts. The above memories are called verbal memory. The memory of learning a hobby or cycling is called non-verbal memory also called procedural memory. Verbal memory requires the conscious effort of recall, whereas non-verbal memory does not require conscious effort of recalling.
Memories are also classified as immediate or sensory memory which is an immediate repetition on perceiving or hearing or seeing. It fades away if not repeated. In short term memory, also called working memory which is like on line memory, which lasts for a few seconds like hearing telephone number or address and recalling them, This memory is necessary for our existence. And beyond five minutes of registering information, it is called long term memory.
No doubt some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are memory loss. But every memory change need not be Alzheimer’s disease. Occasional misplacing of objects or forgetting some engagement that is recalled or cueing happens with most of us because of inadequate attention being given to them.
Memory is a cause of concern for most people lest it be the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease. Whereas in younger people academic performances are blamed on memory deficit. There are various areas of brain connected by electrical circuit/network for proper functioning of memory. Any disease, chemical or trauma destructing this memory network produces memory deficit.
Are you losing track of your previously learned/used routes, or are you having difficulty in finding words in a consistent manner then it is better to consult a neurologist.
There are specific tests of the blood imaging studies and genetic tests to decide about the nature of memory changes. There are many biological markers to predict subclinical Alzheimer’s disease. There are many causes of memory deterioration and some of them are reversible with appropriate therapeutic interventions. Early recognition of setting of such a disease is needed as this is the time for possible therapeutic intervention and avoiding aggravating factors .the disease exists for years together in a subclinical hidden form before it becomes clinically evident to others.
Every memory change, even if proven to be true by specific test could be MCI minimal cognitive impairment and need not ultimately prove to be Alzheimer’s dementia. MCI it could be forerunner of it and only 20% of such cases convert to Alzheimer’s .