Memory loss is a very common problem that can result from various reasons. In this article we will explore some of the available treatments for memory loss.
Definition of short term memory loss
Short term memory loss is when one’s ability to absorb and process new information is damaged. The parts of the brain that are responsible for short term memory are different than the ones that are responsible for long term memory.
In the case of short term memory loss, the person would be able to recall major events that happened many years ago, but will lose the ability to recall events that happened just a few minutes or hours ago.
Common symptoms of short term memory loss
The most common signs of memory loss are asking the same question over and over again, forgetting very recent events (what you had for breakfast, etc.), and forgetting where you left your stuff (wallet, glasses, etc.)
Sometimes, people who are suffering from memory loss will also have difficulties with concentrating and with language – for example, not being able to remember the word they are looking for, losing concentration in the middle of a sentence, or repeating themselves.
Memory loss treatment
Treatment for memory less depends very much on the cause for the memory loss. There can be various reasons for a decline in one’s memory.
To a certain degree, a decline in memory is a normal part of ageing, yet there are ways to slow down the decline and keep your brain strong and healthy – the most important things are healthy lifestyle, proper “brain nutrition” (supplements that support the brain’s self healing mechanisms and stimulate nerves growth), and daily mental activity that stimulates the brain (learning new skills, solving riddles, playing thinking games, etc. – any activity that requires concentration)
Memory loss can also be an indication of a neurological clinical problem – it can be the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease, or one of the other forms of dementia (memory related diseases).
In the case of a memory related disease, there are medications that are being prescribed to help the patients. None of the medications that are available today though, is capable of curing Alzheimer (or other types of dementia), but only ease the symptoms for a temporary amount of time, by artificially altering the work of certain brain chemicals.
Memory loss medications
There are two medication types that are currently being prescribed for patients who are suffering from dementia: cholinesterase inhibitors (such as Aricept®, Exelon®, Razadyne®) and Memantine (also called Namenda®).
These medications affect certain chemicals in the brain that are responsible for the communication between brain nerve cells. They create a temporary improvement in the symptoms, yet have some serious side effects, and lose their effectiveness after a while.
Acetylcholinesterase medications influence the breakdown mechanism of a substance called acetylcholine in the brain. The most common medications from this family are Aricept, Reminyl and Exelon.
The acetylcholinesterase medications are usually prescribed for patients who suffer from mild to moderate symptoms of Alzheimer disease, and sometimes to patients who suffer from other types of dementia as well.
The main effect of the acetylcholinesterase medications is an improvement in the patient’s cognitive function, short term memory and ability to concentrate, yet their effectiveness is only temporary, and they have side effects such as nausea, loss of appetite and constipation.
Memantine is prescribed in more severe cases of Vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Memantine works by reducing the activity of a chemical in the brain that is called glutamate. In the brains of people who suffer from dementia, there is an excessive activity of the glutamate, which intoxicates the brain, interferes with the healthy communication mechanisms between nerve cells and eventually leads to death of brain cells.
Side effects of Memantine might include dizziness, constipation, nausea and headaches.
How to reverse memory loss
Both in cases of natural memory loss (as a part of the ageing process) and in clinical cases of dementia, there are many ways, other than medications, to improve one’s memory, slow down the memory decline and even reverse the damage.
Extensive research has been done in the past decades, with the purpose of better understanding the different brain mechanisms that are related to memory and cognitive function, and the positive effect that some natural remedies have on brain health.
The lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) for example, is well known and researched for its abilities to stimulate the brain’s self healing mechanisms, regrow new nerve cells and improve one’s energy levels.
The best way to improve memory and reverse memory loss, is by combining a healthy diet supported by high quality brain health supplements, with a daily practice of brain stimulating activities (for example: learning a new language, learning how to play an instrument, etc.)