Memory Loss

Memory loss affects thousands of people every year. Memory loss is often attributed to "getting older." In reality, age-related memory loss is a fallacy. The latest scientific research indicates that memory loss is actually a direct result of decreased use of the memory centers within the brain.

At first, memory changes often appear subtle. For example, you may walk into a room and forget why you are there, or recognize someone you have met before, but can't recall their name. Early symptoms of memory loss may progress to more significant memory loss. The good news is that the latest documented research indicates that specific areas of the brain, primarily the temporal lobes, can be activated to improve memory.

Anatomically, the brain is comprised of a right and a left cortex. Each cortex contains an area called the temporal lobe. The temporal lobes are responsible for retaining specific types of short- and long-term memory. For example, the left temporal lobe is most related to remembering word lists, processing verbal language, and recalling language spoken in a monotone voice. The right temporal lobe is affiliated with remembering familiar events as well as processing non-verbal information. The right temporal lobe will house memory such as voice-intonated (singing) memory. If one portion of the brain isn't working at its maximum, memory as well as other functions of the temporal lobe may be affected. This would also include one's ability to smell and hear.

Fortunately, the temporal lobes can be directly stimulated to improve memory. One treatment modality used to improve memory is olfactory stimulation (smelling different smells such at peppermint or cloves). Olfactory stimulation in one or both nostrils will directly stimulate the temporal lobe (more specifically, the hippocampus). Auditory stimulation in one ear or visual stimulation on one side can also improve temporal lobe plasticity (function). Looking at familiar faces will stimulate the left amygdala area deep in the temporal lobe, while looking at unfamiliar faces will stimulate the right amygdala area. Other modalities which may be used to increase global brain function include T.E.N.S., word searches, mazes, looking at big letters made of small letters, or viewing familiar or unfamiliar faces.

Dr. Michael L. Johnson is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist, one of only 700 in the country, with over twenty years of experience in private practice. He has completed over 850 hours of neurological studies and 3800 hours of postgraduate education. His book "What Do You Do When the Medications Don't Work? - A Non-Drug Treatment of Dizziness, Migraine Headaches, Fibromyalgia, and Other Chronic Conditions" outlines his groundbreaking work in the treatment of chronic pain and is a national best-seller. It is available wherever books are sold.

© 2005 Michael L. Johnson, D.C., D.A.C.N.B.

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