Reversing Age-Related Memory Loss

Updated on April 22, 2019
Pamela99 profile image

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession. I enjoy writing, reading historical novels, gardening, and helping people live a healthier life.

Brain—Hippocampus
Brain—Hippocampus | Source

Memory Problem with Aging

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a clinical diagnosis that a doctor makes when a patient has memory problems that are noticed by the patient or other people. These changes are usually not serious enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss occurs in approximately 15% to 20% of people 65 or older.

Mild forgetfulness is typical for most people 65 or older, and that is not MCI. Misplacing things or forgetting a name is a normal part of aging. The difference for MCI is you forget appointments, recent conversations or you may be unable to make a sound decision.

Older Woman

Source

Reversing Memory Loss

Researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL are leading the new technology to reverse memory loss. Joel Voss, a professor at this university, is leading a team of researchers using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which is a noninvasive form that stimulates the brain. TMS has long been used to treat depression. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008.

Voss uses TMS as a pulsing stimulation for the hippocampus in the brain, which uses strong magnetic fields. The hippocampus shrinks during aging. Prior research has shown the hippocampus to be linked to age-related memory loss. The hippocampus is that section of the brain that connect two unrelated things, such as, not remembering where you left your key or maybe you do not remember the name of a new neighbor. Many older people complain or even joke about walking in a room for something and not remembering what they went to get the room.

Rewiring the Brain Circuits with Direct Magnetic Stimulation

Study Facts

This clinical study only used 16 adults ranging from 64 to 80 years of age.MRI studies and a functional TMI was used to find the hippocampus on each participant. The magnetic fields do not reach deep enough inside the brain to reach the hippocampus, therefore, the superficial brain is targeted in the parietal lobe that connects to the hippocampus. This is an indirect method, but it works.

The researchers stimulated the brain activity that is synchronized to the hippocampus. A high-frequency magnetic stimulation was used for 20 minutes for 5 consecutive days. The participants had their memories tested before and after this 5 day treatment. Standard memory tests were used. Remembering random associations between a large variety of things, like words, places and objects.

Younger adults at age 55 tend to get all of these associations right, while older adults often score below 40%. The senior participants achieved scores as high as younger adults after this 5 day treatment. These are amazing results.

The researchers plan to test participants that already have MCI in the near future.

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.

— Abraham Lincoln

Possible Side Effects of TMS

TMS does not require any anesthesia, so it is well tolerated. TMS has most often been used for people with depression who have not responded to medications. The treatment for depression is done daily over a 4-6 week period of time.

Facial spasms or tingling, lightheadedness and headaches are the most common side effects after treatment, but they are not an ongoing problem. A very rare side effect is seizures, so someone with epilepsy or a history of a head injury would not be an appropriate patient for this treatment.

Brain Change

Source

Activities to Challenge your Brain

There are several ways to train you brain to prolong the aging process. Some activities are just a matter of doing an every activity differently, such as, brush your teeth with the other hand.

Some activities for mental health include:

  1. Take a class at a local college or at the senior center
  2. Use puzzles and games for entertainment
  3. Write an article or fictional story
  4. Eat healthy
  5. Avoid drugs that slow the brain if possible
  6. Get enough sleep
  7. Pursue social activities, whatever nourishes the soul
  8. Be active with at least mild exercise
  9. Use constructive ways to reduce stress
  10. Use mentally challenging games, possible something like BrainHQ and Lumosity (I am not endorsing these two games, but if you enjoy challenging games these are 2 possibilities)

Closer Look at Transcranial Direct Magnetic Stimulation

Conclusions

This study proved that TMS helped improve memory for at least 24 hours after the end of the study. We don’t know if this effect lasts over a longer period of time.

MRI’s were done before and after the study. The TMS treatments actually caused the brain to be move synchronized with the hippocampus and each other. When the synchronicity or connectivity is improved, memory tests show improved results.

This is interesting new technology. It may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. I think I could probably use a few doses of magnetic stimulation!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

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    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Robert, Thanks you so much for your comments.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      Good point about memory loss and stress.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Gupi, I think all of us have a memory problem when we are too stresed. I am glad you were able to reduce work related stress. Thank you for your comments.

    • Gurpinder Vir Singh Rai profile image

      Gupi 

      3 months ago

      Getting enough sleep and controlling stress are two things that I really need to focus on. I have had issues with memory when I have been stressed at work including things like forgetting to spell simple words. Since reducing work related stress I have seen improvements in my memory. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Peggy, I hope so true as those are awful diseases. Thank you so much for your comments.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hopefully, they will do more extensive studies and keep working on solutions for dementia and Alzheimers, which affects so many people. This was an interesting article about one possible solution.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Peg, I imagine your brain is very active since you have written some great fiction. Thanks for commenting.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Oh, I especially like your recommendation (#3) to write an article or a fiction story to keep our brains active. And I'm fond of word games to keep the brain stimulated. Thanks for this information.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Eric, I am glad you kept the article of follow as I do that for articles too when I know I might like to refer back to it. I think we all forget things sometimes, even a 9 year old. Thanks for your comments.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Pamela, I kept this on follow as I forgot some of it - Ouch ;-)

      My nine year old complains about going into his super bedroom fort and forgetting why. Too much other great stuff in there. We share and we laugh. Thanks.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Alyssa, I certainly hope that the research continues successfully. I like the idea of improving heath without the use of medications whenever possible. Thanks for your comments.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      4 months ago from Ohio

      This is an important area of study and I hope they continue to research memory loss, hopefully coming up with a cure. (especially for Alzheimer's.) I love that you added some activities that are non-medication related to keep our brains sharp and active. :)

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Ruby, I have the same problem, and I am very active also. I wish the TMS was already available. Thanks for your comments.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      TMS sounds like a useful tool that I could possibly use. I am getting forgetful, esp. names. I am active, card playing and writing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Pamela, yes, and thank you.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I hope you enjoy the week also Miebakagh.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Pamela, I am glad you like my suggestion. Enjoy the week.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Midbakagh, You are right about the things we must do as this first study is a long way from actually helping the average person. Thank you for your comments.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Ms. Dora, I have to do the same things as you. Thank you for commenting.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Lora, It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I know the word puzzles are thought to be very good. Thank you for your comments.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, Pamela, nevertheless, before the research results become profound, it is possible and I believe that people should do something to delay or reduce dementia and Alzheimers from manifesting seriously. Good and healthy eating habit and nutrition, exercise, and rest can all help. I hope I am not going too far here? Thank you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      I appreciate any and all efforts to reverse age-related memory loss. Older folks like me have to do what we can in the meantime to keep exercising our brains. Thanks for the information.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      5 months ago

      Wonderful article Pamela! TMS sounds like a very promising treatment to help the brain keep its learning capacity and memory in good shape as we age and maybe even prevent dementia and alzheimer's disease. Good suggestions also on challenging our brains to reduce cognitive decline as we age as well. I love to do puzzles especially ones that involve unscrambling words and I go for long walks daily. Reading articles such as this one can also help us keep our minds in good shape. Thank you!

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Pamela, thank you.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I appreciate you too, Miebakagh. I think of you as a friend always.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hi, Pamela, you are welcomed, and I appreciated you.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Miebakagh, I agree. Anything we can do to ward off ill-health and forgetfulness is good. Thanks.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      I agreed. But the effort should be geared toward warding off or reducing the ill-health. It is a challenging old-age-related disease.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Noting all comments well as significant to the discussion.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Flourish, I think those are the type of things we all do, and maybe there is hope for people developing dementia in the future. I appreciate your comments.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 months ago from USA

      Some elderly relatives have dementia (or have had it) so naturally I worry about it. I try to stave it off with writing on HubPages, staying active, and lots of sleep.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      5 months ago

      Thank you for posting. This is very good news.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Clive, I am sure that is not true! I'm glad you stopped by and commented.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      5 months ago from Jamaica

      Pam...I think I have that. I can't remember a damn thing!

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Linda, I am certanly hopeful that they will do more research as this may be the cure for dementia and Alzheimers. I appreciate your comments Linda. Have a happy Easter day!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is certainly interesting research! I hope more investigations are done and that the process proves to be useful and safe. Thank you very much sharing the details, Pamela..

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, Pamela, you are welcomed, and many thanks.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Miebkagh, I am glad you are exercising and using mind games to keep your brain sharp. I appreciate your comments and hope you have a very good day this Easter.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, Pamela, I am already over 60. A great article for my education and informing me of current medical innovative. I will always look for ways to enhance my memory and remembering ability.

      Physical exercise and mind games are tools that are dear to me for creativity. Thanks for sharing.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Linda, I can understand some apprehension when your mothe had Alzheimer's. Please remember that some forgetfulness is normal, and realizing you are forgetful someties is a good sign that you will be fine.

      I appreciate your nice comments about this article, and I am glad you found it interesting.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      5 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela, like Jackie L. I strive to do the things that are on your list. The Sunday crosswords in ink with no errors is my brain sharpener, and thanks to Hub Pages the rest of the week my brain is stimulated as well. My mom also died from Alzheimer's so when I walk into a room and forget what my goal was, I do get a bit concerned.

      This is a fascinating topic and you covered it well. Thanks for telling us about this interesting study.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Jackie, I would check the internet for TMS tretment in your area. Right now they are just using it for depression.

      There has been no testing after the 24 hours that I could find. They still use shock therapy on mentally ill patients sometimes if no other treatment works.

      I wish you excellent brain health in the future, and thanks so much for your comments.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 months ago from The Beautiful South

      I do most on this list Pamela. My mom had Alzheimer's and so of course I have that concern of heredity.

      This is very interesting and I wonder if it is in any way linked to the way they used to shock the mentally ill? Possibly depressed patients, too? Too bad they have nothing past the 24 hour testing too, isn't it?

      I would certainly want to get all the information I could.

      Great article an something more for me to look into. Thank you!

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Pop, And your point is? I think after commenting for years now you probably know me pretty well. We are like minded on politics for sure.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Dianna, I have been at that age for a while also. Thank you so much for your kind comments.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      5 months ago

      Pamela,

      Do I know you?

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 months ago

      I am at the age where exercise and improving memory count. Great article and so well done!

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi RTalloni, I do think this is amazing technoogy with possibly amazing benefits. It is not available for us now so we will keep on doing those things that are healthy for our brain. I appreciate your comments.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Pop, I think almost everyone can walk in a room and wonder why. I think you are doing all the right things for your brain. I like Luminosity too. Thanks for your comments.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      5 months ago from the short journey

      So interesting! We live in amazing times. When the technology available to us is used in truly beneficial ways results can be astounding. Thanks for a look at the possibilities for reversing age related loss of memory. The tried and true tips on keeping minds active are not to be dismissed at any time, but TMS seems quite promising for those who suffer with dramatic memory loss.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      5 months ago

      I start my day with a crossword puzzle after breakfast. Then I do Lumosity. I love it and I am completely addicted. I read, I write, I exercise, I cross stitch, knit and needlepoint. Having said all that, I am still capable of walking into a room and forgetting why I walked in!

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Bill, I feel the same way - sooner than later please. Seriously, this is exciting technology for the future. As always, I appreciate your comments Bill.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      In my case, the researchers better hurry up, Pamela. I can see it coming down the road, and it's picking up steam. :(

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Judith. If I write anything medical I try to document it fully, so I apreciate your comments regarding documentation. Thank you for your kind words.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Lorna, I think writing is good for relieving stress too. I think the brain might be the final frontier of medicine as they learn new things all the time. I thought the beginning of the TMS for other uses besides depression was fascinating.

      I appreciate your comments. Have a happy Easter weekend.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Good morning Eric, I am glad you got a giggle while I was stretching the limits of my brain.

      I think learning to find everything on the internet can also teach your brain to function in different ways as many of us sure didn't grow up with computers. I know you love to tease your son, and I also think he keeps you young. I enjoy and appreciate your comments my friend. Have a happy Easter weekend.

    • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Hi Liz, I am glad you like the practicle tips. Thanks so much for your comments.

    • Judith Hayes profile image

      Judith Hayes 

      5 months ago from Maine and Florida

      Excellent article! I appreciate the solid documentation.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      5 months ago

      Very interesting article Pamela - I truly believe that there is so much about the brain we still don't fully understand, and this is yet another area we can utilise. I find writing is a great stress buster for me and one I enjoy.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wow and Wow!! Obviously this is written in a grand and artful way. I was giggling a bit. You were writing about stimulating the brain and you were doing it while I was reading it.

      I am thinking along the lines of the internet (OK even social mediums of dubious positive interactions) Are going to help me in this area.

      Here is a strange one. My nine old forgot why he went out to our porch. We laughed really hard. The reason was that I told him to. For no reason.

      This article is just amazing. I will real it again. That Hipo deal is like a whole galaxy in our heads.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      This is an interesting and helpful article. I especially appreciate the practical tips.

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