Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Memory Changes Are Inevitable as We Age

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Memory Changes Are Inevitable as We Age

Article excerpt

Dear Doctor K: What kind of memory changes am I likely to experience as I get older? Why do these changes happen?

Dear Reader: You'll notice that different kinds of memory decline with age. These include episodic memory (which stock you sold last year from your retirement account), semantic memory (facts, such as the year World War I started) and spatial memory (such as the directions to a new location). Changes in the brain may be to blame.

Storing memories is a three-step process. In the first step, your brain acquires an experience. It does this by encoding the memory of that experience. That short-term memory is temporarily stored. Then it is consolidated into a more lasting memory. The last step in the memory process is retrieval.

Changes take place in the brain as we age. These changes can undermine the encoding, consolidation and retrieval of new information. For example, as we age, we lose neurons in the hippocampus, a brain area involved with memory processing. …

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