Reconstructive Memory

Ever heard of reconstructive memory? It means that information is recalled by associating it with simple clues. For example, in a recall test involving a long list of words, you might remember the word apple because it is a fruit that begins with the letter A.

This type of memory ability remains stable in healthy individuals with age-related memory loss but declines with the development of neurodegenerative disease. This is one of the tests that physicians use when trying to determine future progression from healthy aging to mild cognitive impairment.

In the USA, around 11% of adults 65 or old have Alzheimer’s. After 80, the risk of Alzheimer’s is significantly higher and increases to around 32%. These numbers mean that the majority of older adults who are concerned about their fading memories are most likely experiencing normal age-associated memory decline and have nothing to worry about.

According to Janet Sherman, PhD, Clinical Director of the Psychology Assessment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, “if you notice a change in your memory and find that you are struggling now to remember things that were easy for you to remember before, you should seek out an evaluation. A thorough examination can establish a baseline for you so that it’s possible to track significant changes over time and determine whether your symptoms are progressing and treatment is warranted.”

To protect your memory, Dr. Sherman advises adopting a healthy lifestyle. “Eat a brain-healthy low-fat diet rich in frits and vegetables, who grains, and omega-3 fatty acids from coldwater fish; maintain a healthy weight; exercise at least 30 minutes a day; get plenty of sleep and manage health conditions that affect the brain such as diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure.

Also, stay mentally active with pursuits such as reading, working puzzles using the Internet, or taking classes. And stay socially engage: Interacting with others is mentally stimulating and a great way to increase your ability to recall people, events and information.”

So imagine the next party you attend and you are talking to someone you really don’t want to , you can always apologize ad tell them that your brain requires conversation from someone more stimulating and move on to someone else. Should make you a lot more friends.