Memory impairment - Causes, symptoms and treatment. MF.
Apr 15, 2018
It's hard to say what the norm is in relation to memory. This is individual for each person. The upper bound for memory is undefined. There are descriptions of super memory where a person remembers the smallest details of everything that he encounters.
In official sources, memory is defined as the ability to receive, store and reproduce life experiences. This is not only a physiological, but also a cultural process.
It is known to divide memory into long-term and short-term memory. Their ratio varies from person to person. If you are dominated by long-term memory, then, most likely, you are difficult to remember the material, but it is easy to reproduce it after a considerable period of time. If, on the contrary, you quickly remember "on the fly", then, probably, quickly and forget. This is a feature of short-term memory. The RAM allows you to store information up to a certain point.
Causes of memory degradation.
For simplicity, you can divide them into groups.
1) Linked directly to the lesion of the brain. These include lesions such as craniocerebral trauma( TBI), stroke( acute impairment of cerebral circulation), oncological diseases of the brain.
2) Impairment of the brain due to diseases of other organs and organ systems.
3) External adverse factors, such as lack of sleep, stressful situations, dramatic changes in living conditions, increased stress on the brain, including memory.
4) Chronic intoxication. To the deterioration of memory is the abuse of alcohol, drugs( especially tranquilizers, sedatives), smoking, drug addiction.
5) Age changes in the brain.
A person perceives memory as something self-evident, until they face the problem of forgetfulness. There are many kinds of memory disturbances, and many factors influence this process.
Memory is associated with different modalities. There are visual, auditory, motor modalities. Their combination and predominance are individual. Someone will remember it easier if the material is spoken out loud. The other is easier to remember how the page looks like on which the necessary information is written or imagine boxes of the file cabinet where he allegedly put the desired file. The third can easily remember the information using a logical scheme or an associative connection. The fourth will write a summary.
Different areas of the brain are associated with various functions that contribute to memory. For example, the temporal departments are responsible for the perception of hearing and speech. The occipital-parietal regions create visual and spatial perception, with the right hemisphere divisions producing color, optic-spatial and facial perceptions, and the left hemisphere - letter and subject. Lower-shadow areas are responsible for the actions of the hand and speech apparatus. When they are injured, a person can not recognize objects by touch( asteroognosia).
Recently, more and more reliable information about the influence of hormones on the processes of thinking and memory has appeared. There is a positive effect of vasopressin, testosterone, estrogen, prolactin on accelerating learning, stimulating attention, transferring information from short-term memory to long-term memory. Oxytocin, however, has the opposite effect.
Diseases that lead to memory deterioration
Consider the diseases in which memory problems are most often noted. In the first place, as most frequent, these are craniocerebral injuries. With them, there are almost always complaints about memory impairment, and the more, the more serious the trauma. For CCT also the phenomena of retrograde and anterograde amnesia are characteristic. In this case, a person does not remember not only the moment of injury, but also the events preceding and following him. Sometimes on this background there are confabulations and hallucinations. Confabulations are false memories made by the person himself. For example, when asked about what he did yesterday, the patient will tell that he went to the theater, walked in the park and ate ice cream. In fact, he did not leave the ward, because he was sick for a long time. Hallucinations are pathological images that were not and could not be.
A fairly common cause of memory impairment is a violation of the blood circulation of the brain. Atherosclerosis of cerebral vessels causes a decrease in blood flow to all parts of the brain. In addition, this is a provoking factor in the development of acute cerebrovascular accident. A stroke of the brain,( hemorrhagic or ischemic), develops in a particular area of the brain, stopping access to it almost completely. This roughly violates the functions of these zones.
Similar symptoms can be observed in diabetes mellitus. One of its terrible complications is angiopathy( vascular lesions), in which there is a thickening of the walls of the vessels and the closure of small vessels. This leads to a violation of blood circulation of all organs, including the brain.
Meningitis( inflammation of the brain envelopes) and encephalitis( inflammation of the brain substance) leaves an imprint on the work of the entire body as a whole. Most often, they are caused by neurotropic( nerve-damaging) bacteria and viruses. Fortunately, these diseases are well treated with timely access to a doctor.
What can not be said about degenerative diseases of the brain, the most famous of which is Alzheimer's disease. It is characterized by a gradual and steady decline in memory and intelligence, down to loss of orientation in the environment and the impossibility of self-service. This disease is most often observed in patients aged 70-80 years. It begins gradually and imperceptibly. And the first sign is the decrease in memory and attention. A person easily forgets the latest events, often replacing them with memories of the past. The character of a person changes, he becomes demanding, apathetic, selfish. Later, in the absence of treatment, the patient loses all orientation in space and time, can not call today's number, is lost in a familiar place, consider themselves small children, do not understand where they are, do not recognize close people. It is believed that there is a hereditary predisposition to Alzheimer's disease. The disease is incurable, but with treatment started at an early stage, one can achieve a prolonged mild course without deterioration.
Memory impairment may be the first sign of thyroid disorders associated with a deficiency in the production of its hormones( hypothyroidism).The latter are 65% composed of iodine. The decrease in memory in this case is combined with an increase in body weight, the appearance of depression, apathy, edema, muscle weakness, irritability. For the prevention of iodine deficiency, first of all, you should adjust the diet by adding products such as iodized salt and dairy products( the latter are more preferable), sea kale and sea fish, persimmon, hard cheese and nuts.
Not all memory impairments can be correlated with local brain damage. Sometimes a person unconsciously tries to forget anxious thoughts, unpleasant events, offensive words. These are protection mechanisms. There are quite a few of them.
Repression is the displacement of an unpleasant fact from memory. Negation - a person believes that the event "was not."Substitution - when a person pushes his unpleasant emotions on a "safe" object. For example, with failures at work, the husband of the house screams at his wife. And in the event that a person constantly applies only one of these mechanisms, it can be regarded by him and others as a memory problem.
Especially, those negative emotions that are "forced out", or "forgotten" have a negative impact on the body, pouring into nerves, unmotivated aggression, etc.
Treatment of memory deterioration
Treatment of memory impairment depends, of course, on the cause that caused it. It is possible to use medicines, but none of them can be prescribed independently without medical supervision.
It is possible to use physiotherapeutic methods, for example electrophoresis with intranasal( via nasal) administration of glutamic acid preparations.
Psychological and pedagogical correction is also successfully used to help patients with memory impairment. With the help of the teacher, the patient learns to memorize using other brain functions instead of the affected ones. For example, if a person can not remember the words spoken out loud, then, by presenting a visual image meaning the same word, remembering is possible. This is a difficult, long, laborious work. It is necessary not only to learn to remember with the help of other connections in the brain, but also to bring this process to automatism.
This symptom represents a hazard only as an unfavorable prognostic sign indicating the progression of another disease. In addition, it disrupts the patient's social adaptation, worsens his quality of life.
In case of memory problems, specialists often recommend the use of nootropic drugs.
To which doctor to consult with worsening of memory
If you suspect a memory impairment, then you should contact a neurologist, a neuropsychologist or a therapist who will conduct an additional examination.
But there's something you can do yourself and start right now.
It is known that more often when a patient complains of memory impairment, in actual fact it turns out that the main reason is the violation of attention. This is very common for older people. Events and information are underestimated, perceived fleetingly, especially if the situation is familiar to a person. And this situation is quite difficult to break. The only way out is constant work on yourself, training attention and memory: record important data on paper, keep a diary, master the verbal account in perfection.
This method of training the brain is well described in the book of American professor Lawrence Katz. These exercises activate the work of the brain, contribute to the creation of new connections and associations, involve different parts of the brain.
Here are some of these exercises:
- Try to perform familiar actions with your eyes closed.
- If you are right handed, try to do something with your left hand( for left-handed - right): comb your hair, write, brush your teeth, put the wrist watch on the other hand.
- Learn Braille( reading and writing for the blind) or sign language, at least the basics.
- Learn to print on the keyboard with all ten fingers.
- Learn a new kind of needlework.
- Learn to distinguish coins of different dignity by touch.
- Read articles about things you've never been interested in before.
- Try to visit new places, get acquainted with new people.
- Try to speak in unfamiliar languages.
And remember that how long you will be "in sound mind and hard memory" depends more on you.
Moskvina Anna Mikhailovna, physician-therapist