Nuts Linked to Better Heart Health for Teens

teens peanuts

Eating a modest amount of nuts appears to lower the risk for teens of developing conditions that raise the chances of heart disease later in life, new research suggests.

By “modest,” investigators mean eating at least three small handfuls of nuts a week. In the study, nut-eating teens had less than half the risk for developing metabolic syndrome as those who did not eat nuts.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that heighten the risk of early heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The bad news is that roughly 75 percent of U.S. teens eat no nuts, the study authors said.

“The surprising finding is that, in spite of what we know about their health benefits, the majority of teens eat no nuts at all on a typical day,” said lead investigator Dr. Roy Kim, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Health in Dallas.

“Metabolic syndrome is a major public health problem. [But] our findings at this stage show only a correlation and do not prove that the risk of metabolic disease in teens will go down by eating nuts,” Kim said. “However, the results suggest the possibility that a simple dietary recommendation could have a significant impact on the metabolic health of adolescents.”

Kim and his colleagues are to present their findings Friday at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Diego. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

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About one in nine teens has metabolic syndrome, prior research has shown. The diagnosis is made when a child over age 10 is found to have at least three telltale conditions: obesity in the abdominal region, high triglycerides, low “good” cholesterol (HDL), high blood pressure or high blood sugar.

The new study findings stem from an analysis involving more than 2,000 teens who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2010.

The research team found that every additional gram of nuts consumed per day led to a drop in metabolic syndrome risk, though the benefit topped out at 50 grams per day (equal to almost 2 ounces).

The benefit may be traced back to the unsaturated fat and fiber typically found in nuts.

That said, less than 9 percent of teens were found to consume the minimum amount of nuts needed to see a benefit.

The finding comes on the heels of a U.S. National Cancer Institute study released earlier this week that eating nuts, including peanuts and peanut butter, is linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease.

SOURCE: Endocrine Society, news release, March, 6, 2015

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Ten (10) Ways to Optimize Your Memory

Optimize memory pix

Practice makes perfect when it comes to just about anything – including your memory. Developing techniques to hone your recall of everything from names and phone numbers to more complex processes can make a world of difference.
1. Focus
We all struggle with staying focused in our daily lives thanks to endless distractions. Many are great at multi-tasking, and it gets all the praise, but it can detract from everything, including memory. Meditation is one the greatest tools to practice in order to improve your focus.
Start with 5 minutes a day, preferably first thing in the morning (after you have your morning water and use the restroom ,of course). Sit with closed eyes, and your back straight, and focus on your in-breath and out-breath. Breath in for a count of 5, breath out for a count of 5. You will find this to be very relaxing. Just follow your breath, and this will begin to train your brain to focus like a laser beam. This powerful practice will be able to be carried with you more and more throughout the day, as your practice is developed.
2. Organize and categorize
This works best if you have a list of things to remember. Breaking up the list into categories and fitting each piece into one of those categories allows for greater recollection when you need it. When you need to find information in a book, typically you look at the index or table of contents. You probably have a series of files on your computer or on your desk. Compartmentalizing that which you have to remember can work in a similar fashion.
3. Cut back on alcohol
Here’s where moderation is the key. You don’t have to completely cut out alcohol, but you know those mornings where the night before is kind of fuzzy? Well you’re not just impacting your memory for that one specific event. You could be doing permanent damage.
4. Use visualization
Visualization can be a powerful tool for all sorts of things, including memory. Instead of just trying to remember that you have to stop at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, actually envision yourself driving there, walking to the counter and being handed the prescription. The more elaborate your visualization, the better your recall of the information will be.
5. Word association
This is a great technique to use to remember names. Memorizing some of the symbols on the Periodic Table of Elements, for example, can be a challenge. Lead is Pb and is based on the Latin root word for lead: Plumbum. Thinking of a word association (especially one that’s kind of humorous or unique) can help. For example, “I’m plum out of lead.” I thought of that word association that I learned many years ago. I’ve never forgotten it.
6. Repeat, repeat, repeat
Thanks to technology, we hardly have to remember phone numbers. But what happens when you do? A dead phone battery and no pen or paper to write it down means you’ll have to rely on your memory (maybe). Repetition seems obvious and simplistic. It is, but it works.
7. Tell a story
This is an instance where creativity can pay off. Suppose, for example, that you have to remember to pick up apples and milk from the store. You also have to go to the post office and stop at the veterinarian’s office for vitamins for your cat, Boots. A story to help you remember these things could be something like: “Boots was peppy after taking her vitamins. She decided to run all the way to the post office to mail her package. Luckily she took an apple for her journey. By the time she got home, she was so thirsty she drank an entire gallon of milk!” Silly? Absolutely! Memorable? You bet!
8. Mnemonics
You have probably made your acquaintance with Roy G. Biv as you learned about the visible color spectrum. When you learned the planets, you may have also learned that “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles.” Mnemonics are not just for grade school, those catchy/silly phrases can help you remember something more boring like grocery list. Trust me, they stick!
9. Chunking
There’s a reason that phone numbers and social security numbers are broken up the way they are. Our brain can store only about four to seven different items in our short-term memory. One way to get past this limit is to use a technique called chunking. When you’re given a long number to remember, the more chunking you can do, the more likely you are to recall the data. For example, if you need to remember 10271977, it would be easier to remember as 10-27-1977.
10. Physical activity
As you age, you can see changes in your physical self. There are also a number of cognitive changes happening. Similarly, as you work to improve yourself physically through exercise and activity, you improve cognitive function through physical movement as well.

source: geniusawakeningcom

Ways Social Media Has Changed The Way Our Brains Work

Main frame media

Believe it or not, the very first social media site was created in 1997; however, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the phenomena truly set off. Today, it’s estimated that one-third of the world’s population uses some form of social media. Although social media has surely changed the course of history, could it have possibly changed the way our brains function? Studies say absolutely.

Social media has contributed to the rise of “Internet addiction.” While social media addiction is obviously different from drug or alcohol addiction, a 2012 study found that our brain treats the two quite similarly. This calls attention to treating Internet addiction as a new and serious mental health issue.

But addiction is not the only brain change believed to be brought about by social media’s popularity; it’s also re-routed our ability to multitask. Scientists at Stanford University found that individuals who spend a significant time online using social media were “more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli” and less able to complete more than one task simultaneously.

ways Media

Social media has not only affected the way our brains work,

  • it’s also interfered with our nervous systems.
  • Phantom vibration syndrome is a relatively new but completely legitimate psychological process where individuals constantly believe their phones are vibrating.
  • Researchers believe it’s caused by chronic phone exposure causing our nerves to interpret the simplest itch as an incoming text message.

ASAP Science reports that social media has also increased the amount the average person spends speaking about themselves but, surprisingly, added that the virtual interaction actually leads to more successful relationships. Perhaps this is the doing of social media or perhaps it’s because the only person who can tolerate an Internet addict is another Internet addict. Still, the evidence is strong.
So, are we controling technology or does it control us?

How to Improve Your Memory

 

 

Memory skills

A strong memory depends on the health and vitality of your brain. Whether you’re a student studying for final exams, a working professional interested in doing all you can to stay mentally sharp, or a senior looking to preserve and enhance your grey matter as you age, there are lots of things you can do to improve your memory and mental performance.

 

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Harnessing the power of your brain
They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when it comes to the brain, scientists have discovered that this old adage simply isn’t true. The human brain has an astonishing ability to adapt and change—even into old age. This ability is known as neuroplasticity. With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, alter existing connections, and adapt and react in ever-changing ways.

The brain’s incredible ability to reshape itself holds true when it comes to learning and memory. You can harness the natural power of neuroplasticity to increase your cognitive abilities, enhance your ability to learn new information, and improve your memory.

Improving memory tip 1: Don’t skimp on exercise or sleep

  • Just as an athlete relies on sleep and a nutrition-packed diet to perform his or her best, your ability to remember increases when you nurture your brain with a good diet and other healthy habits.
  • When you exercise the body, you exercise the brain
  • Treating your body well can enhance your ability to process and recall information. Physical exercise increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Exercise may also enhance the effects of helpful brain chemicals and protect brain cells.

Improve your memory by sleeping on it

  • When you’re sleep deprived, your brain can’t operate at full capacity. Creativity, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills are compromised. Whether you’re studying, working, or trying to juggle life’s many demands, sleep deprivation is a recipe for disaster.
  • But sleep is critical to learning and memory in an even more fundamental way. Research shows that sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, with the key memory-enhancing activity occurring during the deepest stages of sleep.

sleep shortly

Improving memory tip 2: Make time for friends and fun

  • When you think of ways to improve memory, do you think of “serious” activities such as wrestling with the New York Times crossword puzzle or mastering chess strategy, or do more lighthearted pastimes—hanging out with friends or enjoying a funny movie—come to mind? If you’re like most of us, it’s probably the former. But countless studies show that a life that’s full of friends and fun comes with cognitive benefits.
  • Healthy relationships: the ultimate memory booster
  • Humans are highly social animals. We’re not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Relationships stimulate our brains—in fact, interacting with others may be the best kind of brain exercise.
  • Research shows that having meaningful relationships and a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health, but also to brain health. In one recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, for example, researchers found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline.
  • There are many ways to start taking advantage of the brain and memory-boosting benefits of socializing. Volunteer, join a club, make it a point to see friends more often, or reach out over the phone. And if a human isn’t handy, don’t overlook the value of a pet—especially the highly-social dog.

have fun

 

Laughter is good for your brain

  • You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, and that holds true for the brain as well as the body. Unlike emotional responses, which are limited to specific areas of the brain, laughter engages multiple regions across the whole brain.
  • Furthermore, listening to jokes and working out punch lines activates areas of the brain vital to learning and creativity. As psychologist Daniel Goleman notes in his book Emotional Intelligence, “laughter…seems to help people think more broadly and associate more freely.”

 

baby smiles

Looking for ways to bring more laughter in your life? Start with these basics:

  • Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is to talk about the times when we took ourselves too seriously.
  • When you hear laughter, move toward it. Most of the time, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
  • Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily—both at themselves and at life’s absurdities—and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
  • Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun.
  • Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing.

 

Improving memory tip 3: Keep stress in check
Stress is one of the brain’s worst enemies. Over time, if left unchecked, chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in the formation of new memories and the retrieval of old ones.

 

doc stress2

  • The stress-busting, brain-boosting benefits of meditation
  • The scientific evidence for the mental health benefits of meditation continues to pile up. Studies show that meditation helps improve many different types of conditions, including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Meditation also can improve focus, concentration, creativity, and learning and reasoning skills.
  • Meditation works its “magic” by changing the actual brain. Brain images show that regular meditators have more activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with feelings of joy and equanimity. Meditation also increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex and encourages more connections between brain cells—all of which increases mental sharpness and memory ability.

Depression and anxiety can also affect memory

  • In addition to stress, depression, anxiety, and chronic worrying can also take a heavy toll on the brain. In fact, some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety include difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things. If you are mentally sluggish because of depression or anxiety, dealing with the problem will make a big difference in your cognitive abilities,including memory.

Improving memory tip 4: Eat a brain-boosting diet
Just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. But for brain health, it’s not just what you eat—it’s also what you don’t eat. The following nutritional tips will help boost your brainpower and reduce your risk of dementia:

 

diet

  1. Get your omega-3s. More and more evidence indicates that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for brain health. Fish is a particularly rich source of omega-3, especially cold water “fatty fish” such as salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring. In addition to boosting brainpower, eating fish may also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re not a fan of seafood, consider non-fish sources of omega-3s such as walnuts, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, winter squash, kidney and pinto beans, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans.
  2. Limit calories and saturated fat. Research shows that diets high in saturated fat (from sources such as red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream) increase your risk of dementia and impair concentration and memory. Eating too many calories in later life can also increase your risk of cognitive impairment. Talk to your doctor or dietician about developing a healthy eating plan.
  3. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Produce is packed with antioxidants, substances that protect your brain cells from damage. Colorful fruits and vegetables are particularly good antioxidant “superfood” sources. Try leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and arugula, and fruit such as bananas, apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe, and watermelon.
  4. Drink green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells. Among many other benefits, regular consumption of green tea may enhance memory and mental alertness and slow brain aging.
  5. Drink wine (or grape juice) in moderation. Keeping your alcohol consumption in check is key, since alcohol kills brain cells. But in moderation (around 1 glass a day for women; 2 for men), alcohol may actually improve memory and cognition. Red wine appears to be the best option, as it is rich in resveratrol, a flavonoid that boosts blood flow in the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Other resveratrol-packed options include grape juice, cranberry juice, fresh grapes and berries, and peanuts.

Use mnemonic devices to make memorization easier
Mnemonics (the initial “m” is silent) are clues of any kind that help us remember something, usually by helping us associate the information we want to remember with a visual image, a sentence, or a word.

 

Nmonics

 

Tips for enhancing your ability to learn and remember

  • Pay attention. You can’t remember something if you never learned it, and you can’t learn something—that is, encode it into your brain—if you don’t pay enough attention to it. It takes about eight seconds of intense focus to process a piece of information into your memory. If you’re easily distracted, pick a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Involve as many senses as possible. Try to relate information to colors, textures, smells, and tastes. The physical act of rewriting information can help imprint it onto your brain. Even if you’re a visual learner, read out loud what you want to remember. If you can recite it rhythmically, even better.
  • Relate information to what you already know. Connect new data to information you already remember, whether it’s new material that builds on previous knowledge, or something as simple as an address of someone who lives on a street where you already know someone.
  • For more complex material, focus on understanding basic ideas rather than memorizing isolated details. Practice explaining the ideas to someone else in your own words.

Rehearse information you’ve already learned. Review what you’ve learned the same day you learn it, and at intervals thereafter. This “spaced rehearsal” is more effective than cramming, especially for retaining what you’ve learned.

 

source : help guide.org

The Psychology Of Language: Why Are Some Words More Persuasive?

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What’s actually going on in the brain when it processes language? And if words affect the mind in different ways, are some more persuasive than others? 

Here’s a secret right off the bat and I hope it isn’t too odd: one of the things I fuss about a lot, are words — very simple words, in fact. Should it say “Hi” or “Hey”? Should it be “cheers” or “thanks”? How about “but” or “and”? I’m guessing you might have a similar obsession with this. There are many occasions when [my Buffer partner] Joel and I sit over one line and change it multiple times, until we feel it really sits right. This is partly to improve our metrics for click rate and others. It’s also to simply create an emotion. The one key question we ask ourselves is: “How does this make you feel?”

That question might sound very obvious. And yet, it’s a very different question than, “Which message do you want to send?” or “What is the content of this announcement?” By always focusing on “How will this make someone feel?” when you write even a single line, we immediately improved the amount of responses we got from our users. Let’s dig in to how our brain works and expose some of the most persuasive words in English.

Our Brain While Listening to Words
Recently, a lot of the long standing paradigms in how our brain processes language were overthrown. New and cutting edge studies that produced quite startling and different results. The one study I found most interesting is UCL’s findings on how we can separate words from intonation. Whenever we listen to words, this is what happens: “Words are then shunted over to the left temporal lobe [of our brain] for processing, while the melody is channeled to the right side of the brain, a region more stimulated by music.”

So our brain uses two different areas to identify the mood and then the actual meaning of the words. On second thought, what still doesn’t quite make sense is why we can even distinguish “language” so distinctly from any other sounds.

The UCL team tried to find out about exactly this. They played speech sounds and then non-speech sounds, that still sounded similar to speech to people. Whilst measuring their brain activity, they found something fascinating: “Speech was singled out for special treatment near the primary auditory cortex.” In short, our brains can magically single out language from any other sounds and port it to the right “department” in our brain to give it meaning.

This graphic also gives a great overview about how our brain process language:

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So intonation and actual wording matters, but what is the split?

The Myth of the “55% Body Language, 38% Tone of Voice, 7% Actual Words” Rule
You’ve probably heard this statistic many times before. Only in recent years have people explored again what the contents of that study were. The study dates back to 1967 had a very different purpose. It wasn’t at all about defining how we process language: “The fact is Professor Mehrabian’s research had nothing to do with giving speeches, because it was based on the information that could be conveyed in a single word.”

Here is what actually happened that triggered the above result:

“Subjects were asked to listen to a recording of a woman’s voice saying the word “maybe” three different ways to convey liking, neutrality, and disliking. They were also shown photos of the woman’s face conveying the same three emotions. They were then asked to guess the emotions heard in the recorded voice, seen in the photos, and both together. The result? The subjects correctly identified the emotions 50 per cent more often from the photos than from the voice.”

The truth, so famous author Philip Yaffe argues, is that the actual words “must dominate by a wide margin”.

Facial Expression, Brevity, and Avoiding Adjectives in Speech
Smiling: the highest positive emotional gesture
There are, of course, a number of other most powerful elements to consider when thinking about speech. One of the most important ones that researcher Andrew Newberg uncovers in his book Words Can Change Your Brain is facial expressions that we carry. Newberg explains his reasoning for why the Mona Lisa’s content smile turned into one of the most well known paintings around the world: “We know that smiling is a very powerful gesture; we were doing a research study looking at different symbols, and the symbol that was rated with the highest positive emotional content was the smiley face. The painting of the Mona Lisa is one particular example of that feeling of calmness.”

Talk no longer than 30 seconds in a given conversation
Another element for how we can process language is the number of words there are for us to process. Of course we know this as somewhat obvious and yet it’s always a great reminder: “The human brain can really only hold on to four things at a time, so if you go on and on for five or 10 minutes trying to argue a point, the person will only remember a very small part of that.”

Instead, 30 seconds is the optimal amount for us to speak at any given time says Newberg: “Speak briefly, meaning that you speak one or two sentences, maybe 30 seconds worth or so, because that’s really what the human brain can take in.”

Avoid adjectives in speech and writing
Something I struggle with is to stop using adjectives. They are, in fact, one of the worst elements of speech and even make a listener or reader lose trust. Writer Kim Peres explains: “Using single words to describe actions and objects quickly brings them to mind. When someone “stabs” a straw into their drink we see it, but “pokes swiftly” is not so clear. When a person “meanders” it is more accurate than “walking slowly”. A man whose foot is described as a “hoof” is much more vivid that having “gnarled toes and sole.”

Reading this, hit me like a rock and couldn’t make it any more clear I think. Peres goes on to explain that “too much unnecessary text induces skipping”, which shows how detrimental adjectives can be. What we easily forget on a very high level is that using less words builds trust. So any words that don’t convey meaning can erode our readers and listeners interest. I think this is one of the most important elements I want to keep reminding myself of.

Three Ideas to Keep in Mind When Using Language
The skill of asking questions: “What would you do?”
When I read this, I realised, I totally suck at it. One of the best journalists and now turned entrepreneur Evan Ratliff put it like this: “All that’s really saved me (so far) from madness is being able to formulate questions that deliver useful answers.” He points out that any questions that start with “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “how” or “why” are likely to get great responses. To be avoided are “would”, “should”, “is”, “are” and “do you think”, as they can limit how people respond to you a lot. To give an example:

Good: “What would you do?”
Bad: “Would you do X?”
Terrible: “Would you do X or Y or Z or Q or M or W or … ?”

His advice is to practice questions that begin with the 5Ws in order to have more meaningful conversations.

Removing “is” from your language

This next one is super interesting. Alfred Korzybski, the creator of General Semantics, was firmly convinced that the ‘to be’ verbs like “I am, he is, they are, we are” promoted insanity. Why? Quite simply because things can’t be exactly equal to something else. Douglas Cartwright explains further: “This X = Y creates all kinds of mental anguish and it doesn’t need to because we never can reduce ourselves to single concepts. You believe yourself to have more complexity than that, don’t you? Yet unconsciously accepting this languaging constrains us to believe we operate as nothing more or less than the idea we identified ourselves with.”

Read the following list of examples and you’ll see immediately how different the outcome of the statements is:

He is an idiot vs. He acted like an idiot in my eyes
She is depressed vs. She looks depressed to me
I am a failure vs. I think I’ve failed at this task
I am convinced that vs. It appears to me that

You, Because, Free, Instantly, New: The 5 Most Persuasive Words in English
In a terrific article, Gregory Ciotti researched the top five words in English. His list is not suprising and yet the research behind it, is extremely powerful.

You: or your name is something that’s so easy to be forgotten and yet so important for great communication.

Because: Because is probably as dangerous as it is useful. Creating a causal relationship is incredibly persuasive: “even giving weak reasons have been shown to be more persuasive than giving no reason at all.”

Instantly: If we can trigger something immediately, our brain jumps on it like a shark, says Greg: “Words like “instant”, “immediately”, or even “fast” are triggers for flipping the switch on that mid-brain activity.”

Memory Loss and Dementia

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Many people become forgetful as they become older. This is common and is often not due to dementia. There are also other disorders such as depression and an underactive thyroid that can cause memory problems. Dementia is the most serious form of memory problem. It causes a loss of mental ability, and other symptoms. Dementia can be caused by various disorders which affect parts of the brain involved with thought processes. Most cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, or dementia with Lewy bodies. Symptoms of dementia develop gradually and typically become worse over a number of years. The most important part of treatment for dementia is good-quality support and care for the person with dementia and for their carers. In some cases, treatment with medicines may be helpful.

What is memory loss and what are the causes?
Everybody forgets things from time to time. In general, the things that you tend to forget most easily are the things that you feel do not matter as much. The things that you tend to remember most easily are the things that are important to you – for example, a special birthday. However, some people just seem to have a better memory than others, and some people are more forgetful than others.

There are certain situations that can affect your memory and make you become more forgetful than you normally are. They can include the following.

Poor concentration
If your concentration is poor then you do not notice things as much, and do not retain things as much as you would normally. Poor concentration can be a result of simply being bored or tired. However, it can also be a symptom of depression and anxiety.
Depression
As well as poor concentration, some people with depression also have slowed thinking. This can cause memory problems until the depression clears. Do tell a doctor if you think that you are depressed, as treatment often works well. Other symptoms of depression include: a low mood for most of the time; loss of enjoyment and interest in life; abnormal sadness; weepiness; feelings of guilt or being useless; poor motivation; sleeping problems; tiredness; difficulty with affection; poor appetite; being irritable or restless.

Physical illness
If you feel ill, this can affect concentration and memory. Certain illnesses can directly affect the way your brain works. For example, an underactive thyroid can slow down your body’s functions, including your brain, and can make you more forgetful. Infections such as a chest infection or a urine infection can also cause sudden confusion and memory problems, particularly in older people.

Medicines
Certain medicines can cause confusion and memory problems in some people. For example, some sedative medicines, some painkilling medicines, some medicines that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, or steroid medicines. Also, if you are taking lots of different medicines, this can increase the risk of them interacting with each other, causing problems, including confusion and memory problems.

Age
As everyone gets older, it often becomes harder to remember things. This is called age-associated memory impairment. Many people over the age of 60 have this common problem, and it is not dementia. For example, it tends to be harder to learn new skills the older you become, or you may more easily forget the names of people you have recently met. It is thought that the more you use your brain when you are older, the more it may counter the development of this age-related decline in memory function. So, doing things such as reading regularly, quizzes, crosswords, memorizing plays or poetry, learning new skills, etc, may help to keep your memory in good shape.

Dementia
Dementia is the most serious form of memory problem. The rest of this leaflet is just about dementia.

What is dementia?
Dementia is a condition of the brain which causes a gradual loss of mental ability, including problems with memory, understanding, judgement, thinking and language. In addition, other problems commonly develop, such as changes in personality and changes in the way a person interacts with others in social situations. As dementia progresses, a person’s ability to look after themself from day to day may also become affected. There are various causes of dementia.

What are the different causes of dementia?
Dementia can be caused by various diseases or disorders which affect the parts of the brain involved with thought processes. However, most cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, or dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). All of these types of dementia cause similar symptoms but some features may point to a particular cause. However, it may not be possible to say what is causing the dementia in every case.

Common signs and symptoms of dementia include:

  • Memory loss
  • Impaired judgment
  • Difficulties with abstract thinking
  • Faulty reasoning
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Loss of communication skills
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Gait, motor, and balance problems
  • Neglect of personal care and safety
  • Hallucinations, paranoia, agitation

signs

Alzheimer’s disease
This is the most common type of dementia, causing about half of all cases. It is named after the doctor who first described it. In Alzheimer’s disease the brain shrinks (atrophies) and the numbers of nerve fibres in the brain gradually reduce. The amount of some brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) is also reduced – in particular, one called acetylcholine. These chemicals help to send messages between brain cells. Tiny deposits called plaques also form throughout the brain. It is not known why these changes in the brain occur, or exactly how they cause dementia. Alzheimer’s disease gradually progresses (worsens) over time as the brain becomes more and more affected.

source : Patient.com.uk