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Forgetting: Aging and Memory Dysfunctions – Memory (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:01 Now, as we get older, our memory tends to fail us.

    00:05 So, we know there’s declining memory and it’s influenced by age, and that’s also influenced by physical function.

    00:12 Now the more active you are, we know that the better you remember things, the better you recall things.

    00:20 So exercise is actually a really good thing.

    00:23 So, we know that also that if you get older, not if you get older, when you get older, we have memory lost in the elderly.

    00:32 But that being said, they have very robust memory networks.

    00:35 They’ve been around for a long time.

    00:37 And they’ve had years and years and years to strengthen, adopt and change those memory networks.

    00:44 And so, for them, when you say the word, you know, if you say the word "banana", for us, it might be monkey, yellow, you know, bread.

    00:52 And for your grandfather, it might be those three.

    00:56 Plus, it might be the name Veronica.

    00:59 It might be the word France.

    01:01 This and that, and who knows what they have and how did that happen.

    01:05 Well, the first time your grandfather had a banana was with her girlfriend Veronica and they were in the South of France.

    01:13 I don't know why France keeps coming up.

    01:14 But anyways, you get my point is that their network can be quite expansive and much more robust versus yours, which is simpler because you still haven’t gathered all your experiences or as many experiences as your grandpa.

    01:28 Now, the degree of memory decline is dependent upon the meaningful info that connects well to the existing web of info that remains intact.

    01:37 So, as you get older, I’m going to break this down into what make sense here.

    01:40 As we get older, we know some of the memory gets lost.

    01:43 So is it because these networks are falling apart? Not necessarily.

    01:48 Sometimes what happens is some of the extraneous connections or nodes that really don’t get activated a lot, as we get older, those are the ones that are going to dissipate and get lost.

    01:58 Also, if we have new information that doesn’t really line up well with a lot of the semantic networks we already have, the memory networks that we have, those will get lost.

    02:06 So, it’s kind of interesting to see what memories go and which ones stay.

    02:12 We also see that skill-based info shows less decline versus broad, broad less meaningful information.

    02:19 So, your grandpa will still know how to brush his teeth, he’ll still know how to drive a car.

    02:24 Not that they should be driving sometimes, but they know how to do the simple skills, but they might not remember the capital of, you know, the capital of Canada.

    02:35 They may not remember the first type of bike they bought.

    02:39 They may not remember a whole bunch of different things.

    02:42 But those are things that carry less meaningful information versus straight up skill-based information.

    02:50 Okay. Now, in terms of retrieval of this network and what’s there, we know two different things happen.

    02:56 So the elderly show less decline in recognition, but greater decline in free recall.

    03:01 So, they’re able to recognize something and that’s probably because the network is still in place, but there’s a decline in terms of free recall.

    03:07 So trying to go in and access somebody’s networks without direction becomes a little bit more difficult.

    03:14 Now, prospective memory involves remembering a planned action at some point in the future.

    03:19 So, So, we find that as time goes, you tend to forget things more often.

    03:25 So, what you can do is actually plan out your steps and you leave cues that are in the environment.

    03:30 So, the example is, say, you need to take your medication.

    03:33 And as you get older, you forget to take your medication.

    03:35 So what you can do is actually leave a posted note by the sink, because every morning you brush your teeth, you should take your pills and it says, "Don’t forget to take your medication." Or you actually create an order saying, "Everyday I brush my teeth, take my pills, brush my hair." And so, those are all cues for yourself.

    03:51 “I’ve just completed brushing my teeth. Next, it’s medication.” You know, all these simple cues in the environment will actually remind you.

    04:00 So it’s really a fancy way of saying, remind yourself that you need to take things like your medication and remind yourself of certain things.

    04:06 Now, Now, back to dysfunction because that allows us to understand better the function of things when there’s dysfunction.

    04:13 So, dysfunction allows us to better understand function.

    04:16 Brain structures in mediate memory and any damage you’ll see an impact.

    04:20 The three that keep coming up are the hippocampus, cerebellum, and amygdala.

    04:23 Hippocampus encodes explicit memories.

    04:26 Cerebellum encoding implicit memories.

    04:28 And the amygdala relate emotion to memory.

    04:30 Dysfunction in any of these structures, we start to see deficits.

    04:35 So damage can include stroke, brain injury, brain tumors, alcoholism, traumatic brain injury or any of these things that impact any of these areas in any way, shape or form, can cause deficit.

    04:47 Now, let’s take a look at the hippocampus.

    04:49 So if you caused some insult to the hippocampus.

    04:53 I’m not saying insult.

    04:54 I’m not saying get mad at your hippocampus.

    04:55 We’re talking about actual trauma or damage as indicated above.

    04:58 That can lead to different types of amnesia.

    05:01 One being anterograde amnesia which is the inability to encode new memories.

    05:06 So from the moment injury happen onwards, you have trouble forming new memories versus retrograde amnesi is we have the inability to remember things prior to the injury or prior to the event.

    05:18 So retrograde means behind.

    05:20 Antegrograde means in front of you.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Forgetting: Aging and Memory Dysfunctions – Memory (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Making Sense of the Environment.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Alcohol
    2. Physical excercise
    3. Mental excercise
    4. Strongly interconnected semantic network
    5. Regular socialization
    1. Free recall
    2. Cued recall
    3. Recognition
    4. Attention
    5. Encoding
    1. Prospective memory
    2. Cued recall
    3. Implicit memory
    4. Recognition
    5. Semantic memory
    1. Hippocampus
    2. Implicit memory
    3. Short term memory
    4. Amygdala
    5. Frontal lobe

    Author of lecture Forgetting: Aging and Memory Dysfunctions – Memory (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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