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How Does the Brain Affect Our Lives? (Part 3)

The Life Cycle of Memory – p. 12-13

  1. “Spark of Life” – fetus – brain voltage – 4-5 times that of an adult; but speed is slower – can’t retain all.

  2. “Infantile Amnesia” – birth to four years old – “Infants and toddlers can’t organize their thoughts or recall information.” p. 12

  3. “Memory Retention” – ages 5-12 and 13-20 – blasts off during adolescence

  4. “Consolidation of Adulthood” – ages 20-40 “The brain organizes itself to function more effectively, and we are at our peak performance. This is the time when people tend to establish their careers, start families, and generally settle down.”

  5. Slow, but steady decline – Women beginning as early as age 40; Men usually have another 10 years before this decline begins.

“Each decade thereafter, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) begins as brain speed and voltage are lost.” p. 13

The Continuum of Alzheimer’s Disease – as cognitive function declines and as years go by: preclinical, MCI and then Alzheimer’s Disease (Illustration on p. 15)

Warning Signs of Mild Cognitive Impairment:(p. 15-16)

  • Remembers past, but not recent events

  • Emotional – agitation, anger, anxiety, depression, fear of being alone, frustration, jealousy, loss of normal emotional response, mood swings, paranoia, tension…

  • Changes in attention and concentration

  • Commission errors (eg. jumping the gun)

  • Omission errors (eg. missed stop signs)

  • Complex attention errors (eg. can’t pull it together)

  • Declining spatial perception

  • Decreased creativity

  • Difficulty learning new tasks

  • Difficulty retaining new information

  • Difficulty with making decisions

  • Failure to recognize people

  • Forgetfulness

  • Hoarding

  • Inability to complete a task

  • Inability to manage finances

  • Memory loss

  • Poor abstract thinking

  • Poor judgement

  • Self neglect

  • Slow response time

  • Stunted intellectual growth

  • Unusual sleep patterns, or general lack of sleep

Watch for changes in personality, temperament, memory, attention and focus.

If you are like me, you are anxious to get to the part of the book that provides solutions, but we must be patient and get the preliminary information first. Stay tuned.


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