It’s normal as we get older to lose some of our cognitive function, which can make us more prone to forgetfulness.
Neuraxpharm provides natural alternatives for the cognitive function and once your healthcare professional has determined your specific needs, they can advise the product that best adapts to your needs and condition.
Find out more about how the brain stores and retrieves information and how to aid memory.
Memory is the process of taking in information from the world around us, processing and storing it, and later recalling what we have retained. There are three major processes involved in memory: encoding, storage, and retrieval.
Fleeting moments when we need to remember something such as a telephone number that we’re just about to dial are stored in the short-term memory for a very small period of time, while our life experiences are more likely to be stored in our long-term memory.
Cognitive functions such as perception, attention, memory, learning, thinking, decision making and language are the mental skills we need to carry out any task, from the relatively simple to the most complex. These include awareness, information handling, memory, and reasoning. From brushing your teeth to using the internet or reading a book, all of these tasks are achieved using your cognitive abilities.
Having good memory and cognitive function means being able to think, learn and remember clearly.
To make sense of the world around us, our memory takes in information from our five senses – sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing – to capture in detail moments to recall in the short or longer term.
This detailed insight is stored and can be recalled with or without the help of prompts from your senses. For example, if you have discovered that you have an allergy to a certain type of food, you wouldn’t need to try eating it again for you to remember. However, prompts such as a photograph, a fragrance, or a piece of music can be particularly powerful in recalling cherished memories.
As we get older, a certain amount of cognitive decline is normal. You may have days when it’s more difficult to remember something – whether that’s recalling a particular memory or finding the words you need to express yourself during a conversation – while on other days, you might find your memory is pin sharp and you don’t have any problems with your ability to communicate.
However, in mild cognitive impairment, the changes in your cognitive abilities tend to exceed the normal and expected changes that are related to getting older.
Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment are often vague and are characterised by problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgement. They include memory loss, language disturbance (difficulty in finding the right words), attention deficit (difficulty in following or focusing on conversations), and disorientation in familiar surroundings.
Age-related cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment might increase the risk of dementia, however in cases where mild cognitive impairment is caused by a general health condition (such as sleep deprivation) cognition can be improved or remain stable if the cause is addressed.
As we get older, it often becomes more difficult to remember things. This is known as age-associated memory impairment. It’s a common part of ageing, but it is not related to dementia.
If you have age-associated memory impairment, you might find learning new skills tends to get harder the older you become, or you may easily forget the names of people you have recently met.
It’s thought that using your brain as you get older may help to counteract the development of this age-related decline in your memory function and cognitive abilities.1
Many memory tests and quizzes are available online that can help to indicate whether your forgetfulness might be a cause for concern. They may suggest talking to your doctor about any memory loss symptoms or signs of cognitive decline you have been experiencing.
Minor lapses in memory from time to time are relatively common, and people of all ages commonly use simple memory aid techniques such as creating a shopping list before heading to the supermarket or setting phone reminders for forthcoming events.
There are many ways to help maintain good memory and cognitive function.
Reading regularly, having a go at a daily Sudoku puzzle or newspaper crossword, memorising words from poetry or a play, or learning something new can all help to keep memory in good shape.
Memory lapses can be exacerbated by tiredness, feeling unwell, stress, anxiety, and trying to concentrate on too many things at once. Steps that can be taken to improve wellbeing include eating well, participating in regular exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and keeping the mind active. These can all benefit both physical and mental wellbeing.
Research into memory and cognitive function is varied and widespread, from studies using neuroimaging to help understand the biology of memory impairment in old age, to experimental psychology methods (testing behavioural theories of the mind), as well as looking at intervention techniques such as cognitive training and lifestyle adjustments to improve memory and cognitive function.
For example, research has found that having a positive outlook on life can protect your memory as you age. People who feel enthusiastic and cheerful have what psychologists call a ‘positive affect’ and researchers found this can protect against steeper memory decline in older age.