What are the Causes of Memory Loss?

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  • Written By: Desi C.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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The human brain and the way in which it stores and retrieves information is a subject of debate and speculation. Modern science has its limits when it comes to understanding the functions of the brain and how it affects memory. There are many possible causes of memory loss; however, each case of memory loss can be caused by different factors and life experiences.

Some memory loss is normal, and a part of the aging process. As we age, we lose brain cells, and as this happens we can become forgetful. Aging of the brain begins when most people are in their twenties.

As humans age we tend to have problems recalling information from the short term, and even long term memory. This type of memory loss is common, and steps can be taken to help recall information. For example, being introduced to someone and then quickly forgetting the person's name is normal, as is not being able to recall a childhood friend's name from many years ago. Strategies to combat this might be to repeat information aloud as it is provided, or to try to recall other information from years ago which might cue the long term memory.


Other causes of memory loss are temporary and can be blamed on such things as stress, depression, emotional trauma, lack of sleep, head injury, migraine headaches, pregnancy, nutritional deficiencies, infection, stroke, drugs, alcoholism, and medication. Memory loss that is caused by such factors is often times sudden, and in most cases reversible. Nutritional deficiencies can be caused by a lack of vitamin B12, and this can be remedied by increasing B12 consumption through diet or as prescribed by a physician.

Any memory loss that causes disruptions or even danger in a person's daily activities is considered serious. Serious memory loss worsens over time, and can be caused by many different factors. Head injury, infections in the brain, tumors, stroke, amnesia, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease are all common causes of serious memory loss, which is not always reversible, though much of the time treatable. Prolonged drug use and alcoholism can also lead to permanent or serious memory loss.

The causes of memory loss are very diverse. Although many of them can be remedied, others create a situation that people simply have to adjust to. If it seems that memory loss is causing disruptions or dangers to yourself or someone you know, a physician should be consulted as soon as possible. There are tests available to help determine the cause or causes of memory loss, and treatment or therapy can be provided in many situations.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

I try to keep up to date on the current research being done on memory loss and dementia. Some of this runs in my family, and I want to try to prevent it in my life as much as possible.

I read that taking a Lecithin supplement is very good for the brain and may help prevent symptoms of Alzheimer's. There is a lot of research being done to find out what are some causes of memory loss in the elderly.

They are still a long way from finding a cure though. Even though some loss of memory is to be expected as we age, I sure hope they find more answers soon.

Post 2

My brother suffered a brain injury from a car accident several years ago. To this day, he still cannot remember much of what happened for several months after the accident. His doctors told him that this brain injury could cause some short term memory loss.

As he gets older, he can tell that it is much harder for him to retain information. Remembering his past up until the accident is no problem, but there have been significant changes in his memory since that brain injury many years ago.

Post 1

I know that your memory seems to decrease as you get older, but did not realize this starts as early as your twenties. Our memories and brain connections are very complex.

My sister was having problems with memory loss while also struggling with depression. She believes that depression can cause memory loss, especially after going through it herself.

It is hard to know if it would be the depression, or maybe the medication she is taking for the depression?

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