WHAT IS SHORT TERM MEMORY LOSS?

Short term memory loss can result from several things. Drug use, menopause, age, and other hormonal imbalances can all be causes of short term memory loss. You might walk into a room and think, “What did I come in here for?”, or you might forget where you put your car keys or glasses. This recent memory loss is not serious and very common.

Your memory is divided into 3 different types. Your memory of specific events is called episodic memory. Your ability to recall events is the first to be altered as you grow older. The change is subtle and gradual and usually has no major effect on your life until around age 70. The second type of memory is Semantic memory. With this type of memory, you store facts and all of your knowledge. The things you remember without even thinking about them, like how to tie your shoes or to speak and to write your native language are stored in your Implicit memory. The last two, Semantic and Implicit memory seldom are affected until very late in life.

Your memory has three parts. All information passes one or another of these parts as it is evaluated and filtered for storage in your memory. Information like names of people you just met and the date of an appointment you just made are stored in the short term memory. The movie you watched this afternoon or the details of your lunch meeting are the types of information stored in your recent memory. Your remote memory or long term memory stores your childhood memories and things that happened years ago.

Your short term memory organizes data, images and events for storage. Your brain will decide if the information is only necessary for right now or if it should be saved and passed along into storage for an extended period of time.

Recently, it has been discovered that there is a short term memory phase attached to your long term memory. Short term memory is the processing center for all new information and is the easiest type of memory to access.

Your brain filters and transfers data from place to place when you sleep. It is very similar to organizing the files on your computer. During this filtering process, your temporary memory only retrieves data. Data from the sensors in your brain and information from your surroundings are not added as new information while this is happening.

Information from the temporary memory is compared to similar recollections stored earlier. Any undesirable or overlapping data is deleted. The data that is considered to be new and relevant is encrypted and added to your long-term memory. This process is gradual and occurs over an unknown period of time, perhaps several years. Short term memories and long term memories are stored in two different parts of the brain.

As you age, starting as early as your 20’s, you start to lose a few brain cells at a time. Also, with the passing years, you brain gradually slows down the production of the amount of the chemicals your brain cells use to do their job. It is possible that aging changes the way information is stored in your brain. The recollection of stored data certainly becomes more difficult for some individuals. These memory problems often progress in severity as you age.

Tiredness, the loss of a loved one, the loss of hearing or eyesight, or if you are called upon to recall too many things at once can all result in forgetfulness. Later in life, pressure and stress often can make you struggle to remember information. These memories usually return when you are more relaxed.

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