Reversing Memory Loss

Reversing Memory Loss Vernon H Mark, M.D. and Jeffrey P. Mark, M.Sc. published a book with this name in 1999. In this work Doctor Mark discusses an aspect of human remembering called Vital Memory. Vital Memory is what allows us to remember how to dress, how to behave in ordinary social situations, how to perform every day tasks of living and to recognize members of our family and friends. If we lose these abilities, we will not be able to care for ourselves or live independently. And that is what Doctor Mark wants to prevent or when it occurs he is dedicated to Reversing Memory Loss.

Although this work was written almost 10 years ago, it offers a number of encouraging scenarios to anyone interested in the possibilities for Reversing Memory Loss.

Finding the cause, is the key to Reversing Memory Loss Dr. Mark notes that in his practice he has found a number of treatable causes of such loss.

  1. Stress that triggers bad experiences from the past. A sudden change in circumstances now can evoke long ago 'bad memories' so that a person is unable to function normally. He gives several examples from his own experience with patients: - A woman who grew up in an abusive household who was able to get training and worked in a job that offered her steady employment and security. Suddenly a lawsuit threatened the security she had worked so hard to achieve and she found that her performance at work began to deteriorate. She began to make mistakes. Eventually things deteriorated until she could barely get through the day. She feared she would be fired because she could not remember the simplest things. - A man who had founded a small business and grown it into a flourishing enterprise suddenly found that he could no longer make the decisions necessary for the job. He could not remember customers or even what he did last week. He had become irritable at home. His marriage was in jeopardy. In both cases, Dr. Mark noted that unbeknown to each patient, an current event in their lives triggered an old, unresolved fear and their bodies reacted with extreme stress - something that can greatly interfere with even vital remembering. In his book he describes how he asked each patient to take some time off and to work assiduously at several specific exercises of relaxation (example: relaxing the top joint of their index finger) so they would produce less cortisol (the stress hormone that can destroy brain cells necessary for remembering). Both patients recovered and were advised to continue their new found skills.
  2. Depression can interfere with vital remembering and function. There are many things that can contribute to depression as we age: Social isolation is a big factor. The death of a spouse, moving to a new place and not getting out to develop new friends, a gradual loss of mobility, a change in the neighborhood to make going out more dangerous. The loss of social interaction often causes or increases depression. Dr. Mark notes that depression is a common cause of vital memory loss and intellectual deterioration but that this loss IS reversible. Depression can interfere with concentration, with learning new things. It can make us easily distracted. We have a short attention span. We can not concentrate and we lose interest in life - often forgetting to bathe or change our clothes or even eat. The lack of adequate nutrition adds to the downward spiral. But all this is reversible - often without the use of prescription drugs. In Reversing Memory Loss Dr. Mark gives an example of a patient who appeared quite senile but who was suffering from depression after the death of his wife. Putting in place an exercise program (there are a number of scientific that show the effectiveness of aerobic exercise eg. walking for aleviating depression), getting a dog for companionship and ensuring that there would be nutritious meals available, the man revived and was able to continue to live on his own.
  3. Alcoholism and drug use can lead to memory loss Dr. Mark offers two full chapters on these topics in his work Reversing Memory Loss. Anyone with either addiction is at risk for losing vitail memory and not being able to take care of self as they age. Clinical, medical intervention is necessary and sometimes memory will improve after sobriety.
  4. Prescription medication can cause the loss of vital memory. Long term use of a medication, the change in a medication dosage or strength, an interaction between a new medication and those one has been taking can all be direct causes of the loss of vital memory or depression that eventually leads to memory loss. This is another reason why anyone experiences changes in memory should be seen by their medical provider immediately and if the problem is not solved there, they should consult a neurologist.
  5. Changes in body chemistry and certain medical conditions can also lead to a loss of vital memory. Many of these conditions are treatable. But the person needs to see a doctor who will diagnose and treat the underlying condition. Many of these conditions are treatable and when they are treated, memory is restored. Two common examples are: Vitamin B12 deficiency Reversible Memory Loss - B12 or Lyme disease
  6. Alzheimer's disease can also be the cause of the loss of vital memory. There has been so much publicity about Alzheimer's in recent years that it is often the first thing that someone thinks of when faced with a friend or relative exhibiting the signs of a loss of vital memory. But I trust that it is obvious that there can be many other things that can cause such loss AND THAT THEY ARE TREATABLE. Remember there is no known medical test of Alzheimer's disease. The diagnosis is only offered as explanation of a loss of vital memory that can not be explained by any other the other possible causes. This is why anyone who appears to have loss of the vital remembering that makes it possible to function on a daily basis needs to be seen by a good neurologist who will test for all the other treatable causes (some of which are listed above) If you have any concerns about Alzheimer's disease, I strongly recommend that you read Peter Whitehouse's book, The Myth of Alsheirmers Peter Whitehouse, MD, PhD is a Professor at Case Western Reserve University and one of the best known Alzheimer's experts in the world. His book, published in 2008 offers practical information and more hope than any work I have read on the topic of Alzheimer's.  
  • In addition to the causes of loss that Dr. Mark covers, in Reversing Memory Loss , there are two additional causes that anyone interested in Reversing Memory Loss should consider: Reversing Memory Loss and Vitamin B12 deficiency and Undiagnosed Lyme disease
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