There are many changes that our body goes through as we age. One of the most noticeable changes is memory loss. A question that both patients and scientists have been asking for years is whether memory loss is a natural, healthy part of aging, or if it is a result of disease.
A recent study conducted at Cornell University has developed a new method to determine whether memory loss is caused by a healthy aging process or a more detrimental factor – disease. This test not only allows researchers to determine the cause of the memory loss but it also assists them with predicting which candidates will be more likely to develop cognitive difficulties without the need for expensive testing methods.
Charles Brainerd, professor of human development, and Valerie Reyna, director of the Institute for Human Neuroscience, have an early detection model which can determine whether patients are experiencing memory loss from aging versus disease. This detection method uses an advanced mathematical algorithm to help detect patterns in the human mind. These patterns provide data to help observers find any unique error patterns found in neuropsychological testing. The tests are known as “recall tests” and are already used around the world to help determine whether individuals are at-risk patients for future cognitive deterioration.
It is commonly thought that the aging process causes memory loss in a variety of different circumstances. Although memory loss may occur throughout the years of an individual’s life, there is a point where memory loss ceases. Through their studies, Brainerd and Reyna determined that after the age of 69, decreases in memory no longer occur. With that being said, aging does cause memory loss but not for the entirety of our lives.
The main objective of the study was to determine the different types of memory loss that were experienced due to both age and disease. Through collected data, researchers were able to determine that a decreased reconstructive memory was due to disease and cognitive deficiencies versus healthy aging. Reconstructive memory is generally stable in healthy patients, and any deterioration would therefore be a result of an internal illness. On the other hand, a decreased recollective memory is a component of healthy aging. With this data, doctors will now be able to determine whether patients will experience cognitive deficiencies earlier than the predictions of older tests.
As with the majority of medical studies, the gathered conclusions can help individuals with living healthier lives. With the use of mental training methods, people are able to ensure that any cognitive deterioration can be slowed down during aging. As an example, reconstructive memory is used frequently throughout early-adulthood and mid-adulthood. With the use of reconstructive memory tests, the mind can be trained to provide healthy memory function throughout the lifespan of the subject. This can be quite advantageous to help limit the amount of detriments experienced from aging and memory loss.
Whether you are a teenager, an adult, or a senior, your memory is an important component to everyday life. With the assistance of the new data accumulated from Cornell University, memory loss from disease can be detected earlier and prevention techniques can be used. This can allow you to live a healthier and happier life with your cognitive skills in the best shape possible.