4 habits that make memory worse as we age – BBC News Thailand

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caption, To reduce the risk of memory loss as we age. Brain expert suggests changing 4 bad habits.

Oscar Wilde, the famous Irish writer, said: “Memories are the notebooks we all carry with us.” This gives the meaning of the word memory

However, as we age we can lose some of our memories or remember them incorrectly. But it's also painful.

But Professor Garan Ranganath, Director of the Center for Dynamic Memory Processes at the University of California, USA, and one of the most important neuroscientists studying memory, says that we can reduce the risk of memory loss.

Speaking with BBC Mundo (Spanish section), the author of the book Why We Remember: The New Science of Memory breaks down four bad habits we all tend to fall into. This is the behavior this expert said. It is a habit that affects our brain's ability to remember things.

This article provides some tips for eliminating such risks.

1. Not getting enough rest

As we get older our sleep time tends to decrease, and health, work and economic issues can also affect the quality of our sleep. These sleeping habits can cause great harm to health.

“We now know that the brain has a system that removes toxins that have built up in the brain, including amyloid, which is a clump of protein associated with the early stages of Alzheimer's initially. The system will work during the night,” Professor Ranganath said.

Neuroscientists, who have studied brain function for 25 years, explain that sleep also plays a role in renewing this system in the brain.

“People who do not get enough sleep will have decreased frontal lobe function. The same applies to stress tolerance levels, so the brain is unable to fully focus,” the neuroscientist said.

During the night, the brain not only rids itself of harmful substances and recharges its batteries. It also helps organize our memory.

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caption, Sleep is one of the most important things that helps preserve memory.

“When you sleep, your brain's memory works again… Sleep makes it easier to organize the information we have learned.

Tips for getting a truly restful night's sleep include not using your phone or computer before bed. Including avoiding heavy meals. Drink alcohol and caffeinated beverages before going to bed

For people who have difficulty sleeping at night for one reason or another. Experts say napping during the day is very beneficial.

“Memory benefits and can also occur from napping during the day.

2. Do many things at the same time. (multitasking)

In today's world full of competition and chaos. Being able to do many things at the same time Multitasking is seen as a good thing, however, Professor Ranganath warns that multitasking may actually be bad for our memory.

The reason is that “the prefrontal cortex helps us focus on what we need to achieve our goals. “But this amazing ability will be interrupted if we jump from one goal to another.”

He explains that in our brains there is competition between different groups of neurons that perform different functions. This competition between neurons makes it difficult for the brain to multitask properly and efficiently.

This neuroscientist went on to say: Checking your email while listening to a class lecture will only lead to one situation. That is, you do not remember anything you listen to.

“When there is a change in purpose (start checking email) neurons are dispersed and parts of the memory are recorded because you are using multiple brain functions to manage the transition from one activity to another. This makes it difficult to create lasting memories.”

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caption, Multitasking has a negative effect on our memory. Because it will prevent the formation of long-term memory.

However, with every rule there are exceptions. That is, if those actions are related or related.

“If you're going to make a cake that means you need to preheat the oven. And then go prepare the dough or something similar. Now if you combine all these different tasks into one big task, you can still do it,” he gave an example.

For tips on how to stop doing too many things at the same time. This expert says to try to complete one task at a time before starting another, and you should also avoid things that will distract you from what you're doing.

Brain expert suggests that while we are focusing on some work the phone should be silent. Mute text and email notifications. You should also take breaks during the day and stretch your legs.

The issue of spending time looking at cell phones begs another question: Will this type of behavior have any impact on today's generation of children?

“There may be some positive effects, and other negative effects as well, but the most important thing is that they create habits and routines that are not good for their memory.”

A study published in 2023 found that American teens and children spend 5-8 hours a day browsing their phones.

3. Do the same things repeatedly.

This may be the opposite of what you imagined. But the human mind is not programmed to remember everything. But he will choose to remember only certain things

“Most of the experiences we have or the information we gain are eventually forgotten,” Professor Ranganath said.

Experiences or events that involve fear, anger, desire, happiness, or surprise. Or other emotions that release chemicals in the brain, such as adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, or cortisol, only the memory of these events will be valid in the neurons of our brain. These chemicals help the brain make new neurons. It is extremely important for memory

“Creating and changing new neurons in the brain helps us remember better. Especially when stories are repeated, we will remember them more effectively,” said the professor from the University of California. The ability to remember diminishes as we age.

So routine actions, such as remembering a recently changed password, become more difficult over time.

“When do you change your password? You will have a group of neurons with the old code stored. It connects to another neuron that remembers the new code.

Experts suggest that breaking repetition and routine is the best way to preserve the brain's ability to build new neurons.

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caption, Professor Ranganath said young people often have habits that harm their memory. Due to excessive use of communication technology

4. Overconfidence

“People think their memory is excellent. Until they enter a certain period of life, they then realize that this is not the case,” Professor Ranganath said.

This wasn't very surprising. Because experts have stated that the brain is not designed to remember everything we experience. Which is very difficult

“It is expected that the average American receives 34 GB of data per day (or approximately 11.8 hours per day), the expert said.

“The purpose of memory is not to remember the past. Although it can be done, it is about capturing important information from the past that is essential to understanding the present and preparing for the future,” he said. He also explained that we should not rely on memory alone to learn things.

“The most effective learning occurs in situations where we are trying to retrieve memories. To get the information we are looking for.”

“For example, after we get to know someone after a few minutes, try saying their name out loud. While the conversation is going on then call that person's name again. The longer we call their name, the further away we become from each other,” he explains. “We remembered her more.”

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Other suggestions

In combating these four habits or behaviors, Professor Ranganath said that there are many ways to protect our memories.

So what are these things?

“In the short term, maybe try to sleep better. Learn how to manage stress (or try to reduce the cause of stress) and practice meditation, which will help us not get distracted.”

For the long term this expert has advice:

“Food plays a big role. The Mediterranean diet (a diet that emphasizes eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits and fish) has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health,” he noted.

In addition, this brain professor also suggested “exercise, especially exercise. It is a good way. Because it increases the secretion of various substances in the brain that increase the production of brain cells and help improve the brain's vascular system.”

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“Good dental health and hearing are also important. Because there are many studies that have found that people who have problems with their dental hygiene or people who do not take care of their ears are more likely to suffer from memory problems,” the experts concluded. Finally, social relationships and exposure to new things stimulate the formation of new neurons in the brain.”

Finally, this expert said that many studies indicate the same thing. These elegant methods allow some people to preserve their memories even into old age. Reducing the risk of dementia by up to 1 in 3

This information gives us hope. This is especially true when research conducted by the Alzheimer's Society of Canada found that nearly 40% of people may begin to experience memory problems by age 65.

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