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“Why are you losing your memory?"

Causes of memory loss

“Why are you losing your memory?"
As a person goes through life and collects experiences, they store away hundreds of thousands of memories in the brain. Most of this process is involuntary. Non-essential experiences may not be held, while those essential for your growth, sustenance and survival will be stored and retrieved when necessary. For example, while you may remember what you were wearing yesterday, you will likely remember what you wore on the 25th of June last year if it was an extraordinary day. However, you will likely remember how to walk, talk or behave in a social context. As you grow older, you tend to be more selective about which information needs to be stored or discarded. Memory loss is a common problem. In earlier years, it was a problem associated with older adults in their 70s and 80s. In recent at times, I have had many patients in their 40s complaining of memory loss and absentmindedness. When a person needs help remembering essential information required for carrying out life on a day-to-day basis, a problem needs attention. Poor posture is a significant cause of memory loss at all ages. Using a smartphone or a laptop causes you to stoop constantly, leading to a semi-permanent slouch. Constant neck bending to play games or use Facebook or WhatsApp on your phone affects blood circulation to your head and brain. The vertebral artery passes through the spinal cord, providing significant blood and oxygen to the brain. Slouching can kink this artery, reducing blood circulation to the brain. Straightening up your neck and back by standing straight against the wall for 1 minute every hour and maintaining a straight posture in the time between often dramatically improves the circulation and oxygen to your brain, helping your vision, memory, and clarity. Stooping and slouching compress the chest, affecting breathing and causing a lack of oxygenation and circulation in the brain and other body parts. It also causes Thoracic outlet syndrome, which affects the circulation, sensation, and strength in the hands. People sit for long hours in front of a computer or television in a posture that is not conducive to breathing deeply and properly.   Tall people stoop to fit in with the height of the people around them and often have very poor posture. Conversely, short people stand straighter, appear more elevated and usually have better postures than tall people or people of average height. The natural ageing process leads to stooping and poor posture in older people, which affects their breathing and, hence, the oxygenation and circulation to their brains. Spasms in the psoas muscle also cause a person to bend forward and stoop. Spasms in the psoas muscle can be caused by food allergies, commonly to milk and gluten and due to the accumulation of toxins in the muscle. Back pain, neck pain, and spine misalignment can also lead to poor posture. It would be best to find a comfortable position that causes less pain. Allergies to gluten and milk cause a leaky gut, which can affect brain functioning, damage the cells that retain memory and cause dyslexia. Aluminium toxicity, commonly caused by cooking food in aluminium vessels and drinking from aluminium cans, causes the deposition of abnormal proteins in brain cells, leading to loss of memory and Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia Dementia is a general term for any disease that causes a change in memory and thinking skills severe enough to impair a person’s daily functioning, such as driving, cooking, shopping, balancing accounts, working, communicating, etc. There are many different types of dementia, the most common of which is Senile Dementia, an affliction where several small strokes happen in other parts of the brain. People who suffer strokes in the brain and have clots will also suffer from memory loss. Strokes are caused by clots forming in damaged blood vessels in the brain. These can be easily detected with an MRI. A severe nutritional imbalance, leading to a shortage of vitamins C and D, can cause strokes. This is common in people living on an unbalanced, highly processed diet. It is also common in older adults living alone, who often struggle with obtaining fresh provisions and making their meals. Taking vitamin and mineral Supplements can help prevent this. Most types of dementia cause a gradual worsening of symptoms over years due to progressive damage to nerve cells in the brain caused by the underlying disease process, which is referred to as neurodegeneration. Age is the most significant risk factor for dementia. Dementia becomes increasingly common as people age, though this does not mean that dementia is a part of normal ageing. Dementia is an illness that affects up to 40% of people over 85 years old. What Happens in Dementia? The symptoms of dementia vary from person to person and may include memory problems or mood changes, difficulty in walking, speaking or finding your way. While dementia may include memory loss, memory loss alone does not mean that you have dementia. While some mild changes in cognition are a normal part of the ageing process, dementia is not a part of it. Dementia should always be investigated and treated. People with dementia may have different symptoms depending on the type and stage of their particular dementia. Symptoms depend on which part of the brain is affected by the disease process, and they may change over time as the disease progresses to involve different brain areas. Different types of dementia tend to target particular parts of the brain. For example, the part of the brain necessary for forming new memories is usually affected early in Alzheimer’s disease. (AD), which is why short-term memory loss is often one of the first symptoms of AD. Other common symptoms of dementia include difficulties with communication, planning and organisation, navigation, personality changes, and psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety, delusions and hallucinations. Lack of sleep is an essential cause of memory loss. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep during 24 hours. If you are unable to sleep because you have to wake up at night to pass urine, try sleeping in the afternoon. Getting at least 4 hours of deep sleep during 24 hours is essential to maintain your memory and effective functioning. Accumulation of lead, mercury and other heavy metals in the brain affects brain cells and can also cause damage to blood vessels, leading to strokes. Lead accumulation may happen through exposure to polluted air, especially in big cities and high-traffic areas. It also occurs in cold climates where lead pipes are used for water supply. Progressive memory loss can occur after painting a house when sandpapering of lead-based paints releases the dust of white lead, which is easily inhaled. This is common in older adults. Mercury accumulation is due to fish consumption from polluted sources and teeth fillings. Other diseases like high or low blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking and stress may also lead to clotting and strokes. It is essential to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar under reasonable control in the normal range for your age and weight. Low blood pressure in the elderly also can cause dementia as the brain is starved of blood. In elderly patients, the blood pressure should not be lowered more than necessary to manage the symptoms of hypertension. As you age, your blood pressure rises to ensure that your brain, heart, vital organs, and each part of your body receive enough blood circulation. Lowering this can affect circulation to your brain, causing dementia. The formula I learned in medical school was that the upper figure for normal blood pressure should be 100 plus the age. In ladies, the figure is taken as 10% lower than this figure. In overweight people, the blood pressure needs to be higher to ensure circulation, while in underweight people, the blood pressure does not need to be so high to circulate all body parts properly. My grandmother’s experience confirmed that we need enough blood pressure to ensure blood circulation and normal function! As she moved into her 90s, her blood pressure started to rise. However, she had no symptoms relating to blood pressure, and I let her maintain her blood pressure at 180/70. When I was away, she consulted another physician who gave her medication to lower her blood pressure. The next day, I received a call saying she was unable to talk, walk, feed herself or control her urine & bowels. When I questioned her attendants, I discovered the problem, stopped the medication, and she recovered in 4-5 days. The same happened when a new medication was introduced to reduce her blood pressure. Uncontrolled High blood pressure also reduces blood flow to the brain, affecting Memory. Uncontrolled Diabetes reduces brain activity as the brain is starved of food and energy, affecting Memory. Head injuries can also cause memory loss in younger individuals and the elderly. If you have had a head injury at any time and start experiencing memory loss, it should be appropriately investigated and treated. Athletes like boxers and football players are especially prone to traumatic brain injuries and should be treated by a cranial osteopath at the earliest opportunity. Drugs. Constant use of medications like sleeping tablets, painkillers, nerve blockers like gabapentin, anti-histamines for allergies, and Proton pump inhibitors used for treating acidity and GERD are all known to cause loss of memory. This becomes more serious when these drugs are used for many years. Some medications have side effects that mimic the symptoms of dementia. Memory loss is also common in people treated with Chemotherapy as the drugs used are not specific and target growing cells in all body parts, including the brain. People on prolonged antibiotic therapy also tend to suffer memory loss due to the effects on the microbiome. Probiotic treatment is necessary for patients on prolonged antibiotic therapy (over five days). Even a single dose of a medicine may trigger such a reaction in an older person or in someone whose liver fails to eliminate the drug usually. Interactions among two or more drugs may lead to reversible symptoms of dementia as well. Liver function should be monitored regularly in older people showing signs of dementia. Metabolic abnormalities. Decreased thyroid function (hypothyroidism) can result in apathy or depression that mimics dementia. Hypoglycemia, a condition in which there isn’t enough sugar in the bloodstream, can cause confusion or personality changes. Pernicious anaemia caused by an inability to absorb vitamin B-12 also can cause cognitive changes. Similarly, changes in blood sodium, calcium, magnesium, heavy metals or other compounds can cause reversible dementia. Menopause can also be associated with depression and some memory loss. Always check the Fasting blood Glucose, HbA1C, Lipid Profile, Thyroid Function tests, C-reactive protein, vitamin D & testosterone or oestrogen in women. Nutritional deficiencies. Chronic alcoholism can be associated with deficiencies of thiamin (vitamin B-1), which can seriously impair mental abilities. Severe deficiency of niacin (vitamin B-3) may cause pellagra, a neurological illness with features of dementia. Dehydration can also cause confusion that may resemble dementia. Vitamin D Deficiency is also known to cause memory loss. Always check the Fasting blood Glucose, HbA1C, Lipid Profile, Thyroid Function tests, C-reactive protein, vitamin D, and testosterone or oestrogen in women. Emotional or psychiatric problems. The confusion, apathy and forgetfulness associated with depression are sometimes mistaken for dementia, particularly in older individuals. Depression is not common in people with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), but apathy and emotional withdrawal are, and this can lead to the misdiagnosis of depression. Even though people with FTD may appear to be depressed, when you ask them about their mood, they often say that they feel happy. Similarly, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder can be misdiagnosed as FTD. Infections. Meningitis and encephalitis, infections of the brain or the membrane that covers it, can cause confusion, memory loss or sudden dementia. Untreated syphilis can damage the brain and cause dementia. Normal-pressure hydrocephalus. If cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain's ventricles, the brain tissue is compressed even though the fluid pressure remains normal. This may cause dementia. If this condition is identified in time, it may be treated by restoring the average cerebral spinal fluid circulation through cranial osteopathy. Lack of sleep. Try & get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each 24 hours. There is too much caffeine from coffee, colas, etc. Drug & alcohol abuse affect memory. Tech addiction to cell phones, iPads and computers also causes memory loss. Neuroimaging & Structural Scans One of the most valuable tests in the evaluation of dementia is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves, without any X-rays, to produce images of the inside of your body. It is non-invasive and considered very safe, but some people with metal implants and cardiac pacemakers are unable to have an MRI. Talk to your doctor or the imaging technician if you have concerns about entering the magnetic scanner. Some people find lying in the scanner produces anxiety or claustrophobia because of the tube-like shape or the loud sounds during the scan. In this case, seek out a centre with an open MRI machine available in most towns & cities. Sedation may be available, but relaxation techniques like deep breathing, visualisation and meditation can also help. Some MRI scanners allow you to listen to music or watch a movie. You must be as still as possible to get the best pictures while in the scanner. A computed tomography (CT) scan is similar to the MRI but does not image brain structure with the delicate precision of MRI. A CT scan is an X-ray technique that produces cross-sectional images of the inside of your body or head. Typically, scans last only a few minutes, during which time you should lie still. You may hear some whirring and clicking noises during this test, which is normal. In a CT scan, you will be exposed to a significant amount of X-ray radiation, usually 5-10 times the maximum allowable radiation for a year. Please discuss the risk of causing cancer as a result of exposure to radiation as opposed to the benefit of the CT scan and other safer alternatives with your doctor before having the scan. Functional Scans A SPECT scan shows how blood flows through arteries in the brain. A radioactive material (tracer) is injected into a vein in the arm, and the scanner detects the movement of the tracer through the brain and computes the brain activity. Brain areas affected by disease typically show diminished activity. As with any neuro-imaging procedure, you must lie as still as possible so that the machine can obtain accurate pictures. After the scan, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Most radioactive tracer leaves your body through your urine within a few hours after your SPECT scan. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your exposure to radiation during a SPECT scan. Functional MRI (fMRI) is a particular type of scan done in an MRI scanner. It shows changes in blood flow in the brain, representing areas of the brain using more or less blood to perform specific tasks. The experience and equipment are similar to those of a structural MRI scan. PET scans show tissue activity by measuring your brain's energy usage (metabolic activity). Like a SPECT scan, PET combines a brain camera and a radioactive material (tracer). The tracer lets doctors see how body tissues absorb and use different chemicals in real-time. A tracer is injected into your bloodstream 30–45 minutes before the scan. Once the tracer has had time to reach your brain, you'll lie on a table that moves slowly through the scanner. By detecting metabolic changes in the brain, your doctor can see which areas are healthy versus dysfunctional. Be sure to remain as still as possible so the machine can get accurate pictures. Depending on the information your doctor needs, you may be asked to perform tasks like reading or speaking to activate specific areas of your brain. Once the scan is complete, drink plenty of fluids to flush out any tracer left in your body. Amyloid imaging with PET can tell whether the patient has a buildup of amyloid protein, a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. New tracers to show the buildup of tau protein are under development but not yet available. Neuropsychology Neuropsychological testing adds to a person's clinical assessment. These tests evaluate behaviour, language, visuospatial abilities, memory, abstraction, planning and mental control, motor skills and intelligence. The patterns of strengths and weaknesses in a person help identify which areas of the brain are functioning well and which are doing poorly. Tests of a person with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) may show visual and memory abilities intact. However, abstract thinking, word generation, motivation and ability to follow rules may be disrupted. Prevention and cure Identify which of these causes applies to you and eliminate the cause. Ensure proper nutrition by eating a balanced diet, including plenty of fresh organic grain, fruit, and vegetables. One of the essential cures for memory loss is the improvement of body posture and deep breathing. As oxygenation and circulation in the brain improve, so will memory. Gyan yoga is a valuable method to improve circulation and oxygenation to your brain. Preventive treatment with vitamin C and Vitamin B complex with minerals like selenium, Zinc, manganese, and molybdenum, correction of Vitamin D levels to the normal range, Co-enzyme Q 10, which helps the mitochondria in cells, including brain cells, to produce energy more efficiently, aspirin, and Gingko Biloba can help reduce the incidence and progress of this problem. Keep your weight, blood sugar and blood pressure under control with a properly balanced diet, exercise and get enough sleep at least 8 hours every 24 hours. Practice using your memory so it stays active and alert. Play games that involve your thinking. Playing cards, chess, etc, and interacting with others all help your brain stay active and alert. Treatment Options. We offer a range of Treatment Options at the clinic to help with this condition. These include correct diet, Addressing the causes of memory loss, Acupuncture, laser therapy, Ozone and oxygen therapy, and Transcranial Neural Stimulation. Laser therapy is a safe, non-invasive treatment that uses visible red or near-infrared (NIR) light to stimulate, heal, and repair damaged or dying tissue cells. The laser stimulates the mitochondria and increases blood flow to the brain. PEMF therapy, at the lower theta and delta frequencies, assists the mind to relax and the body to have a deep and rejuvenating sleep. PEMF frequencies help stimulate the production of Melatonin in the Pineal gland, one of the most essential hormones for sleep and anti-ageing. It also helps produce HGH in the pituitary gland — a vital hormone for sleep, rejuvenation and longevity. More energy: PEMF therapy increases the activity of critical enzymes needed in ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) synthesis and utilisation and in energising TMP (Transmembrane potential), thus enhancing the essential elements that provide human cells with energy. Better Oxygenation and Circulation: PEMF therapy helps form new blood vessels, improves microcirculation, and increases the primary uptake and binding of oxygen to haemoglobin. Relaxation and Stress Reduction: PEMF has been shown to significantly reduce cortisol levels and create a balance in autonomic functions, thus helping the body relax and alleviate stress. Nerve and Tissue Regeneration: PEMF therapy helps promote the binding of nerve growth factor receptor proteins on the nerve cells’ surface, facilitating nerve tissue regeneration.
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