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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Memory Loss: Prevention & Expectations

Memory Loss

Alternate Names : Amnesia

Memory Loss | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the symptom?

Mild memory loss comes normally with aging. Keeping the brain active may help to preserve brain cells. Reading, singing, doing puzzles, conversing, exercising, and eating a balanced diet stimulate blood flow and activity in the brain.

Many cases of memory loss are due to Alzheimer's disease. Although there are no proven methods to prevent Alzheimer's disease, recent research findings provide some options that may slow the onset of the disease or the progression of symptoms. These findings, which need further study, include:

  • low doses of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which may work by making blood cells and vessels less sticky and improving blood flow
  • actively engaging in cognitive activities such as reading, which may increase the nerve connections in the brain and delay the onset of the disease
  • taking antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selignine. In the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study, a dose of 1,000 IU of Vitamin E and 5 mg of selignine twice daily delayed nursing home placement, loss of the ability to perform self-care, and severe dementia.
  • hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women, which may delay the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The relationship between the hormone estrogen and Alzheimer's disease still needs further investigation.
  • avoiding head injuries. A person should wear a seat belt at all times when riding in a motor vehicle. Sports safety guidelines for children, adolescents, and adults can be helpful in avoiding other head injuries.
  • Strokes are another major cause of memory loss. Preventing or treating high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and alcohol abuse can lower the risk of stroke.

    What are the long-term effects of the symptom?

    Occasional memory lapses do not usually disrupt daily life. However, individuals with long-term, progressive dementia will continue to lose mental abilities. Ultimately, this makes independent living impossible. A person suffering from the condition often requires nursing home care. The family may face considerable financial expense in caring for the person. Extensive medical care due to falls, trauma, infections, and depression may also result.

    What are the risks to others?

    Memory loss is not contagious and poses no risk to others. If the memory loss is caused by an infection such as AIDS, the infection may be contagious.

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    Memory Loss: Diagnosis & Tests


    Memory Loss: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: Ann Reyes, Ph.D.
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 07/13/01

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