Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Memory the connection between synapses to strengthen

Memory is our brains ability
to learn information and store it. It is the ability to recall experiences, previously
learned facts, skills and habits. In neurological terms, memory is an
arrangement of encoded neural associations in the mind. Memory is defined as
the accuracy and ease with which a person can retain and recall past
experiences (Webster`s Dictionary, pg. 611). The capability we have to recall a
large number of memories in order to make future plans or strategize how to
deal with a situation is a huge benefit to our survival and development as a
species.

There are many different
factors affecting the function of our memory including Thyroid, Menopause, Lack
of Sleep, Anxiety, Depression, Smoking, Certain Medications, Stress and lack of
Exercise. Some minds, like computers, can have more storage capacity, being
able to save and recall more experiences, information and memories than others
can. Evidence indicates that general intelligence is fairly stable throughout
most of adulthood, with a small decline in average test scores often seen after
age 60 (Schaie, 1990, 1994, 1996, 2005) (Pg. 462, Chapter 11). Most scientists
believe there is no such thing as a good or bad memory, it all depends on the
amount of time, energy and focus we put into remembering something. Several
parts of the human brain are there to determine whether or not something will
be a memory based on many factors such as level of interest and whether we are
trying to remember the information or not. If we are to repeat information
multiple times it causes the connection between synapses to strengthen which
improves the chance that we will remember the information. As we get older the
brain begins to get weaker and shrink, losing brain cells, specifically those used
to encode, save and retrieve our memories. The hippocampus itself loses five
percent of its neurons every ten years. Although it seems as we age we all lose
memory there are quite a few factors aside from age that affect each personal
individually in their memory loss including genetics, diet, stress, exercise
and alcohol or tobacco use.

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There are some forms of
intelligence that are considered more stable and some more vulnerable than
others when it comes to aging. The intelligences are Fluid Intelligence,
involving the basic ability to reason, the capacity in which you remember and
the speed in which the information you take in is process. Another form of
intelligence is Crystalized Intelligence involving one’s ability to use the
information they have taken in and apply it to different situations in life. As
we age it is believed that memory loss is inevitable, we blame things we forget
on bad memory. Most researchers would agree that not everyone as they age
experiences memory loss and memory loss experienced is actually not extremely noticeable.

As we age the speed at which
our memory works is affected first. Studies show that our learning, problem
solving and processing speeds slow with age. It has been discussed whether or
not higher usage of the brain can delay decline in memory. This is referred to
as the “use it or lose it” theory. This theory says in short, if you continue
to work and use your brain going into your later years there will be less
decline in the productiveness of your memory.

     With brain aging also comes quite a few
medical conditions and diseases. Some of these conditions include COPD, Alzheimer’s,
Dementia, Heart Failure, Depression, Stroke, Kidney Disease, Diabetes, Coronary
Heart Disease, Arthritis, High Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure. The most
common condition caused by aging of the brain is Alzheimer’s, an irreversible
and progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys one’s memory and eventually
making it impossible for them to carry out a simple task such as eating or
getting dressed continuing to worsen over time. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s
it is thought to be possible to prevent it by making simple lifestyle changes.

     Many things can be done to increase and
keep a person`s brain and memory sharp. Seeking variety provides a broad range
of experiences that provide reservoirs of knowledge to search through in old
age. Things such as reading, drawing, doing puzzles, playing brain games, learning
new things, using all your senses, repeat what you want to remember,
organization, socialization and take care of yourself. Also writing things down
and saying things out loud reinforces the information in your brain. Some
different things you can do to take care of yourself and your body to help with
memory include getting adequate sleep, treating diabetes, controlling blood
pressure, addressing depression, thyroid checks, cholesterol control and eating
more fruits and vegetables.

     Memory plays a large role in our lives, our
brain contains everything we have learned throughout our life. Our memory
organizes what we have learned and allows for us to use these experiences
throughout our daily life properly. From educational purposes, remembering
loved ones and how to do basic things in our life memory is important. Without
our memory, we are basically stuck inside our own bodies. Not only would we lose
the ability to think for ourselves, to remember those we love or the happiness
we’ve experienced and how to take care of ourselves we would lose our sense of
self and our independence. Looking at my life and the busy schedule I keep
every day I couldn’t imagine losing my memory at twenty-six years old. I have
work, school and soon to be three kids that depend on me as well as a husband.

If I lost my memory my husband would be left to do everything on his own. Even
looking into the future and imagining losing my memory at the age of sixty-five
I can only think of the things I will forget. I may forget if I ate, what I
ate, what I did that day, if I took my medication, if I called someone, or I
may even forget my own children.

Researching age-related
memory loss has made me appreciate the fact that I still have my memory but
also made me quite scared to grow older and possibly lose everything I know and
love in my life. In my personal opinion, the loss of memory of those you love
would be the absolute hardest because although they are suffering you have no
idea what is going on because you don’t even know who they are anymore. Moving
forward in my life I will be taking preventative measures, although they may or
may not work, to try and retain the effectiveness of my memory.

 

 

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