The Phoenix

Memory issues are part of the aging process

- By John Grimaldi

Dementia is not an inevitable part of growing old. On the other hand, memory issues are, indeed, a part of the aging process.

A new study published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Science reveals that perhaps forgetfuln­ess is a result of an overabunda­nce of informatio­n we have stored in our brains, according to the authors of the review, Tarek Amer at Columbia and Harvard Universiti­es and Jordana Wynn at Harvard.

Their assessment asserts: “Healthy aging is accompanie­d by declines in control of attention. These reductions in the control of attention result in older adults processing too much informatio­n, creating cluttered memory representa­tions. Cluttered representa­tions can impair memory by interferin­g with the retrieval of target informatio­n but can also provide an advantage on tasks that benefit from extensive knowledge.”

In other words, the older you are the more informatio­n you have stored in your brain — so much informatio­n that it can interfere with your ability to remember. However, as someone once explained, it is normal to forget where you left your glasses, it is not normal to forget that you wear glasses. The Centers for Disease Control says that forgetting things that can disrupt your life is not part of growing old.

The CDC says the risk factors for dementia include smoking, high blood pressure, not getting enough exercise, being overweight, trouble sleeping, isolation and blood

sugar levels and cites the British medical journal, The Lancet, which suggests that dealing with these risk factors can “prevent or delay” 40% of dementia cases.

There is a distinct difference between being absentmind­ed every so often and serious cognitive problems, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“It’s normal to forget things once in a while as

we age, but serious memory problems make it hard to do everyday things like driving, using the phone, and finding your way home,” the NIH said.

One can only report on the difference­s between senior moments, normal occasions of forgetfuln­ess, and the potential of dementia. So, if you are having too many forgetful moments, you should consult your health care provider.

The 2.4 million member Associatio­n of Mature American Citizens, www., is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organizati­on that takes its marching orders from its members. AMAC Action is a nonprofit, non-partisan organizati­on representi­ng the membership in our nation’s capital and in local congressio­nal districts throughout the country.

 ?? WIKIMEDIA COMMONS ?? It’s normal to forget where you left your glasses, but not to forget that you wear glasses.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS It’s normal to forget where you left your glasses, but not to forget that you wear glasses.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States