HOW MEMORY WORKS: The basics of memory are explained by the chemicals released across synapses as nerve cells communicate to each other in the brain. The chemical changes at the synapse make it easier for the signals to pass, and as this happens there is an actual transformation among the network of cells. When only a few signals are sent, the change is temporary creating short term memory; but when the signals continue, the changes to the most active synapses are permanent and that creates long term memories. However, this does not fully explain everything there is to know about memory. It was discovered by Brenda Milner of Montreal Neurological Institute in her study of Henry Molaison that the hippocampus is responsible for turning short term memory into long term memory and that there are different kinds of memory, dependent on different parts of the brain. Researchers continue to study memory and a plethora of information and studies can be found in medical journals and articles. (Source: www.pbs.org)
SILENT STROKES: A typical ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel that feeds part of the brain and the cells without the normal blood flow can begin to malfunction and die. The same happens during a hemorrhagic stroke in which a blood vessel bursts. Silent strokes interrupt the blood flow to a part of the brain that does not control vital functions (such as speech or motor skills) so they often go unnoticed. The only way to see the damage caused by a silent stroke is with an MRI or CT scan. Most people cannot do anything about silent strokes other than try to lower their risk of one. Suggestions to lower the risk of a stroke include: Limit salt intake to less than one teaspoon a day, eat more fruits and vegetables, and exercise at least five days a week. (Source: www.health.harvard.edu)
TIPS FOR A BETTER MEMORY: There are some things people can do to keep their memory sharp.
- Stay mentally active; crosswords, reading, and learning new skills help to keep the mind healthy.
- Socialize regularly; socializing helps release stress and prevent depression which can hurt memory.
- Get organized; a person is less likely to forget what they write down or set in a specific place.