WHY AM I LOSING MY SHORT-TERM MEMORY? Britain's Top Integrated Health Expert

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), April 18, 2004 | Go to article overview

WHY AM I LOSING MY SHORT-TERM MEMORY? Britain's Top Integrated Health Expert


Byline: DR ALI

Q I'm 41 and am concerned about my short-term memory. On about day 14 of my cycle and at the start and finish of my period, my thinking is muddled, words come out wrongly and I forget names. A blood test showed that I'm not menopausal. My doctor suggested I try progestogen tablets, but I feel apprehensive about taking hormones. I have had a traumatic relationship break-up recently, so stress could play a part. What do you advise?

A Loss Other parts of the brain may also be affected, so you might get a craving for sugar because your glucose supply is reduced, or suffer panic attacks, headaches or chronic fatigue.

Just before a period starts, there is increased pelvic congestion as the uterus swells and more blood rushes to the area in preparation for the imminent loss. This causes the blood supply to the brain to reduce. If, in addition, the blood supply to of short-term memory, problems with concentration and fuzzy thinking are often connected to lack of blood flow to the brain. There are several possible reasons, so these symptoms can become manifest at different times due to different causes. Thus, your mid-cycle symptoms could be linked to hormonal changes brought about by ovulation (which happens at this time), while the peri- (around) menstrual symptoms could be caused by other problems.

The limbic system is the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory, concentration, sleep, sexual and emotional drives, and the 'feel-good factor'. This part is bathed by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which provides nutrients (glucose and oxygen) to the brain and the surface of the spinal cord. Some of the nutrients sent to the limbic system come directly from blood supplied by arteries of the brain, particularly the vertebral arteries in the neck.

When you are stressed, the neck muscles tense.

Physical stress, for instance sitting for hours at a computer, driving long distances or insomnia, can have the same effect. This can cause the circulation of CSF and blood to slow down, particularly the supply that flows through the vertebral arteries. If this happens, the limbic system suffers from 'power failure', as its fuel fails to get through.

your brain is compromised because of tight neck muscles, even less blood gets through. This causes all the symptoms associated with PMS - anxiety, headaches, dizziness, mood swings, memory loss, lack of concentration, and so on. …

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