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Health 123

Health 123 - Will forgetful people get Alzheimer’s Disease?

We always thought amnesia will only happen to old folks. Yet in reality, young people can also be so forgetful, they can forget things they are about to do in a split second. Although our memory declines as we grow older, yet there are still many reasons that cause amnesia. This includes over stress and hyper- tension that cause our brain cells to grow weary, over consumption of alcohol, smoking, depression, and lack of sleep, etc.

Amnesia is a symptom, and medically it is known as temporary memory impairment. Simply put, there is a temporary mind impairment which occurs in the brain, and it will disappear eventually in the course of time. For Alzheimer’s disease, serious damage occurs in one’s entire memory, therefore, these are two completely different things. Let’s take a look at how the memory of our brain works!

Our brain memory can be divided as long term memory, short term memory and instant memory. Long term memory will last from a few days to a few years. For example, when one learns how to drive, he/she will remember how to drive no matter how long since then. Short term memory will last only a few seconds to a few minutes, and the capacity is very limited. The instant memory is also known as “feeling memory”. The volume of the message it carries is very large but very short-lived.
Normally it lasts for about a second and the message is easily lost. It will only enter short term memory if it is remembered. The organ that is responsible for storing short term memory is the hippocampus. It is the hybrid of brain neurons. Under normal situation, whenever the brain receives external messages, it will be delivered to the hippocampus and form a short-term memory. However, because of limited capacity, if these messages are not used within a period of time, the hippocampus will delete them automatically, and allow new message to come in.

In contrast to this, if some of these messages are mentioned or used repeatedly within a short period of time, they will be transported by hippocampus and be stored in the cerebral cortex, and form a long-term memory. 

Now, it explains the problems that are frequently faced by many. Forget what to do next suddenly? Perhaps the incident only remains in your instant memory, and it has yet to enter your short-term memory. Usually this kind of phenomenon is more prone to happen when you are concentrating on doing other things, or when you are thinking about something more important. Our brain will usually choose to help us remember things that are more important, but to those things that are comparatively unimportant in our lives, we do not have a great amount of memory capacity to remember.

Man's brain is a precious memory storage, and whatever that goes through the brain, be it thoughts that run through our mind, emotion that is experienced by us, or actions that we have practiced, will become the content of our memory. Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist discovered that our brain has a forgetting curve towards new things. It means that our memory will be forgotten continually as times go by. The thing that we forget rapidly the most in the first day might not even be recalled by the end of it. This curve explains when we learn new knowledge, we must keep recalling and repeating in order to remember it well, and to keep it in the long-term memory storage. If we do not revise diligently, we will only have 25% left of what we have learnt after 6 days. In addition to this, memory in our brain has a very interesting characteristic, and that is, we tend to remember better  about the  things we care for and we are interested in. Therefore, those things or people that are irrelevant to us will be deleted by our brain memory faster in comparison.

Memory is a very important part of our lives, it is good to use our brain more often, but we must not overuse it until we become so weary. Instead, maintaining a positive and cheerful emotion will greatly enhance the work effectiveness of our brain, as well as minimize forgetfulness and acts as a key to improve our memory!