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What are the Different Methods for Memory Enhancement?

By Jacob Queen
Updated May 17, 2024
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The brain is still generally somewhat mysterious, and the way memory works is still being studied. Based on the best understanding of the brain available, experts recommend many different methods for memory enhancement, including lifestyle changes, nutritional adjustments, and sometimes specific mental exercises. Some of the more common memory enhancement methods include ingestion of herbal supplements like ginkgo biloba and making an effort to learn new things. There is also an overall focus on keeping the brain active to fight off any tendency towards mental atrophy, especially as people age.

Ginkgo biloba has gotten a lot of heavy promotion as a memory enhancement herb. Some people even believe it can help fight off Alzheimer’s disease, although the research on this is still being debated. The herb can cause an increase in the blood supply for the brain, and many experts believe this can potentially lead to increased cognitive ability in many areas, including memory enhancement. There is also some suggestion that the drug could pose dangers when combined with any medication that thins the blood because of the potential for bleeding in the brain.

Another common focus among memory researchers is to recommend brain exercise for memory enhancement. The basic concept is that the brain is a lot like a muscle in the sense that inactivity might lead to a loss of function. Some of these people believe that mental exercises, such as memory games, can potentially lead to an improvement in brain function. There is some research to support this treatment approach, and many experts use it with people who suffer from severe memory disabilities.

Some people also believe that diet and exercise can lead to memory enhancement. Most people who favor this approach suggest that individuals should ensure that they eat enough fruits and vegetables. There is also a focus on certain nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. Exercise has the potential to change a person's brain chemistry, and some experts believe that increasing certain chemicals may improve overall brain performance.

Most cognitive scientists believe there are two different kinds of memory. On the one hand, there is short-term memory, which allows people to remember things they’ll only need to recall for minutes or hours. Long-term memory is generally for things that will always be needed or things that are emotionally important. Sometimes memory disabilities will only cause problems for one type of memory, and different treatment approaches are used for different kinds of memory loss.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By BioNerd — On Mar 05, 2011

Some memory tricks come with a lot of practice, and may have nothing to do with herbal supplements. Some of the greatest thinkers of time have learned to use the loci method and similar thought processing methods to store an immense amount of data over a long period of time. If we're talking about short-term memory, however, than yes, herbal supplements may be the best option.

By BostonIrish — On Mar 03, 2011

@GigaGold

Since memory and productivity are affected and enhanced by sleep, I would say that the long term effect of taking these dietary supplements would be retroactive. A lack of sleep will actually make your memory worsen over time.

By GigaGold — On Mar 02, 2011

Ginkgo Biloba is a medicine that is still fairly difficult to understand and has not been tested scientifically for clear results. It is believed to aid in memory, but it may also have unknown side effects. I know of instances where people have had trouble sleeping due to taking Ginkgo Biloba with Ginseng. They noted that their focus, memory, and productivity, were all greatly enhanced, but that they also had immense trouble winding down at the end of the day and getting to sleep.

By anon145236 — On Jan 22, 2011

The term "thin the blood" is inaccurate. The medications usually (but improperly) referred to are anticoagulants and tend to prevent the blood from clotting. Thin implies viscosity and those medications do not at all alter the viscosity of the blood. I am aware that 600,000 doctors use the term, but they not speaking or writing precisely. Donald B., retired internist.

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