Enhancing Your Memory
Daniel Leffingwell MS, RN
March 9 2008
Types of Memory:
1. Short Term: our mind stores information for a few seconds or a few
minutes: use the example of computer (RAM).
2. Long Term: involves the information you make an effort (conscious or
unconscious) to retain, because it’s personally meaningful to you (Hard
the example of the women who was asked to remember 3 objects after 5
minutes. She came back for her appointment three months later and
repeated the objects. This was important to her.
If you pay attention, it will store!
¨If you’ve concentrated well enough to encode new
information in your brain, the hippocampus sends a signal to store the
information as long-term memory. ¨ 1
repetition is the key!
Pay attention! Do you remember a personś
name after they tell you it?
Compensate for sensory
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.
Organize information. Write things down in address
books and datebooks and on calendars; take notes on more complex
material and reorganize the notes into categories later. Use both words
and pictures in learning information.
Understand and be able to interpret complex material. For
more complex material, focus on understanding basic ideas rather than
memorizing isolated details. Be able to explain it to someone else in
your own words.
Rehearse information frequently and “over-learn”. Review
what you’ve learned the same day you learn it, and at intervals
thereafter. What researchers call “spaced rehearsal” is more effective
than “cramming.” If you’re able to “over-learn” information so that
recalling it becomes second nature, so much the better
Maintain Regular exercise Habits
stress: mild stress vs. complex stress and memory. Stress is a major
cause of synapse dysfunction.
¨Research shows that prolonged exposure to stress can interfere with
function of neurotransmitters. Excessive amounts of the excitatory
neurotransmitter glutamate may accumulate in the synapse. In high
concentrations, glutamate becomes a toxin that can interfere with
learning and cause cell damage in the brain's memory regions. Research
presented at the 2006 American Psychological Association convention
suggests that repeated stress remodels the brain and causes neurons in
the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex to shrink. Stress can also lead
to depression, which is associated with memory difficulties.¨ 4
Good stress/bad stress...
Good Nutrition Habits:
Take a good all around multivitamin that has memory "enhancing"properties
¨B vitamins, especially B6, B12, and folic acid, protects
neurons by breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that is toxic to
nerve cells. They’re also involved in making red blood cells, which
carry oxygen. (Best sources: spinach and other dark leafy greens,
broccoli, asparagus, strawberries, melons, black beans and other
legumes, citrus fruits, soybeans.)¨ 1
¨Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, and beta carotene, fight
free radicals, which are atoms formed when oxygen interacts with
certain molecules. Free radicals are highly reactive and can damage
cells, but antioxidants can interact with them safely and neutralize
them. Antioxidants also improve the flow of oxygen through the body and
brain. (Best sources: blueberries and
other berries, sweet potatoes, red tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, green
tea, nuts and seeds, citrus fruits, liver.)¨
¨Omega-3 fatty acids are concentrated in
the brain and are associated with cognitive function. They count as
“healthy” fats, as opposed to saturated fats and trans fats, protecting
against inflammation and high cholesterol. (Best sources: cold-water
fish such as salmon, herring, tuna, halibut, and mackerel; walnuts and
walnut oil; flaxseed and flaxseed oil)¨ 1
¨Because older adults are more prone to B12 and folic acid
deficiencies, a supplement may be a good idea for seniors. An omega-3
supplement (at any age) if you don’t like eating fish. But nutrients
work best when they’re consumed in foods, so try your best to eat a
broad spectrum of colorful plant foods and choose fats that will help
clear, not clog, your arteries. Your brain will thank you!¨ 1
self fulfilling prophecy
TINSTAAFL On old olympus, towering Tops cranial nerves (sentences,
Are you a visual or auditory learner?
of good General Health
B12 and Folic Acid deficiencies
Medications (anticholenergic) that can cause memory dysfunction.
High blood pressure medication; stomach medication resperpine.
Convince yourself that you have a good memory that will
improve. Dont' Worry...be happy!
your brain active: mind exercises on the computer, games
puzzles activity that stimulates senses. Use the example of sundowning.
you need to learn: Use joke about women with
Alzheimers - keeps repeating herself.
your life: establish a daily routine for routine tasks ie:
take your medications associated with a task, like eating breakfast.
But, also balance this with a variety of activities that interest you!
your Memory: Tips and Techniques for Memory Enhancement
to Improve Your Memory wikiHow
to Improve Your Memory: Tips for Remembering Information Suite101.com
To Improve Memory? Strengthen Your Synapses. Here's How
Medical News Today.