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 6 Things That Kill Your Memory

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PostSubject: 6 Things That Kill Your Memory    6 Things That Kill Your Memory  EmptyWed Feb 02, 2011 10:01 pm

6 Things That Kill Your Memory
Memory is a marvel of human biology -- essential to mankind's way of life and survival, but so complex that it is not yet fully understood. As a physiological process, the storing and retrieval of information is imperfect and thus vulnerable to certain destructive forces (or memory killers). These forces can be both internal and external, and can effect any area of the memory: sensory, short-term or long-term.

The following are just a few memory killers to avoid if you want to help your brain function at its best.

1. Smoking
Although most are unaware of the fact, smoking cigarettes is a memory killer. Several studies have indicated that smokers, particularly middle-aged and elderly, show increased decline in both memory and general cognitive ability in comparison to non-smokers. Though it’s sometimes difficult to count out other factors of a smoker's lifestyle that may be meddling with the mind, such as a lack of physical activity, the evidence against smoking still looks pretty convincing. Bottom line: Butt out! And lay off the marijuana too (if you value your short-term memory, that is).

You might be thinking right now: “But wait, doesn't nicotine actually improve memory?” OK, while it's true that the acute effects of nicotine actually improve certain areas of short-term memory (albeit only temporarily), the long-term effects of smoking over time are what cause mental decline.

2. Malnutrition
Like any finely tuned motor, your brain needs fuel, specifically glucose. If you're short on fuel, you'll be short on brain power. However, to most, this comes as no surprise; we've all felt that dense and foggy feeling when we're overtired or overly hungry. Aside from general malnutrition, however, a more serious disorder results in those individuals short on thiamine (vitamin B1): Korsakoff's syndrome. Caused most often by chronic alcoholism or malnutrition, Korsakoff's syndrome can lead to severe retrogade and anterograde amnesia including confabulation (a fabulous word that describes a situation where invented memories are regarded as true due to gaps in memory from blackouts).

3. Herpes
Herpes is just one of several health conditions or disorders (such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke or depression) that can be real memory killers. While most cases of herpes won't make you forget the name of your coworker or where you left your keys, a more serious form of infection known as herpes simplex encephalitis can cause severe memory loss, sometimes as a first warning sign followed by a host of other deadly symptoms. Herpes encephalitis refers to an inflammation of the brain, and it's one of the most severe infections of the human central nervous system. Thankfully, this scare is rather rare, arising only if and when the herpes virus finds its way to the human brain through nerves of the face.
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