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Hello Brain • Brain Health
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Memory: Remembrance of things past

Memories are our experiences spun as patterns into the wiring of our brains. They unravel a little as we age, but sometimes we can identify a specific cause and restore our memory skills.

How does your memory work?

To find out how memories are made and what you can do to help your memory, watch this film made by our friends at freedemliving.com.

Your memory helps make you who you are. That special birthday from your childhood, a first kiss or the last film that you saw; all are filed away as changes in your brain cells and their connections.

In order to make an experience into such a solid memory though, your brain must go through a number of steps. First you take in the detail through your senses, such as a person’s name when meeting them. To remember it, you must go onto the second step: pay attention and signal your hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped part of the brain, to take note. The final step is to ask for this information back, which will light up the same circuit of brain cells and so strengthen the memory.

But don’t jump to conclusions if you get worried about your memory. All sorts of things interfere with memory and many are treatable like depression, anxiety and stress. Or, you might just not have paid enough attention to some information in the first place.  And remember this: you can boost your memory machine through physical exercise and social activity and by challenging your brain.

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Rewinding the clock

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The wider world web - what are other websites saying about the brain?

Revving up

Playing a video game has boosted multi-tasking, short-term memory and attention in adults aged between 60 and 85. All it took was 12 hours practice on Neuroracer.

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Pills to consider

Dr Cara Tannenbaum lists medications that may harm some people’s memory or concentration abilities.

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Bonds help memory

For those of us in our 50s and 60s, socialising with friends and family can give our memory a shot in the arm.  The importance of social bonds is described here. 

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Fog of tobacco smoke

A 2012 study found that people who breathe second-hand smoke perform poorer in everyday memory tests. 

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