Short term memory and long term memory
Memory refers to the process of capturing information from what’s happening in our surroundings, storing that information, and remembering it later.
The human memory can be compared to that of a computer system or a filing cabinet. There are three main types of memory, they include working memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. In this article, we will be looking at the following aspects of human memory in detail:
- Short-term memory loss vs Long-term memory loss
- Causes of memory loss
- How Short-term becomes Long-term memory
- Short-term vs Working memory
- How to reduce the risk of Dementia
Short-Term Memory Loss vs Long-Term Memory Loss
Have you ever had the experience where you could remember something that happened 20 years ago and totally forgot where you placed something a minute ago?
It may be frustrating to only remember insignificant details and be unable to remember what’s relevant in the present. This situation is what is referred to as memory loss. Memory loss can take the form of short-term or long-term memory loss.
Our short-term memory refers to the ability of our brain to hold small amounts of information, usually what is happening now.
Long-term memory on the other hand refers to the brain’s ability to hold information from the past. Short-term and long-term memory is highly significant to us. The ability to remember things affects how we deal with situations and the people around us.
Several factors can contribute to memory loss. For instance, with advancement in age individuals tend to suffer from short-term memory loss.
They may forget things like where they placed their phone. Moreover, long-term memory loss can be caused by issues like injuries, diseases, or trauma. Individuals suffering from long-term memory loss may forget their past such as wedding anniversaries or people they met long ago.
Causes of Memory Loss
Here are some of the causes of memory loss:
i. Lack of a good night’s rest: Sleep deprivation hinders the capacity of our brains to think and remember information. It is hard for a sleep-deprived brain to focus, and this affects the ability to remember new things.
Sleep deprivation also makes it difficult for someone to form and remember long-term memories. To boost good memory, it is recommended that you have at least seven hours of good sleep every day. Always take a rest before your brain reaches its capacity limits.
ii. Side effects of medication: Several prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause memory loss. Possible medications that can lead to memory loss are antihistamines, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, painkillers issued after surgery, or anti-anxiety medications.
Always consult with your doctor or physician to check on the possibility of adjustments that can be made to your medication to protect all the memories you have.
iii. Stress and anxiety: These two have been proven to have adverse effects on human functions. The stress hormone cortisol impairs the brain’s ability to form and recall memories. When stressed, people experience difficulty in creating short-term memories and turning them into long-term memories.
We must formulate ways of reducing our stress and anxiety levels. This will improve our memory storage greatly. Our health and quality of life will benefit too.
iv. Drug abuse, alcohol, and tobacco consumption: Drug abuse is a serious contributor to memory loss and concentration. Excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco can also result in loss of short-term memory.
To improve memory storage, doctors advise that we minimize alcohol consumption and avoid high drug dosages.
v. Diseases like Diabetic Neuropathy: Uncontrolled diabetes may increase the risk of experiencing cognitive problems such as memory loss. Diabetic neuropathy is a kind of nerve damage that happens to over 50% of patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Its symptoms are numbness, pain, and a tingling sensation.
Additional symptoms are urinary problems, wasting of muscles in feet and hands, weakness of limbs indigestion, constipation, dizziness, and sexual challenges like impotence. Over time, high blood glucose levels and high levels of fats such as triglycerides resulting from diabetes can damage the nerves. This causes diabetic neuropathy.
How Short-term becomes Long-term memory
The conversion of short-term (primary) memory to long-term (secondary) memory requires the passage of time.
Short-term memory is very brief. Suggestions indicate that short-term memory can hold only seven items at once and last up to a minute.
Short-term memory is highly affected by interference and interruptions. New information or distractions will quickly displace it.
The human memory works like a computer. Information first enters the short-term memory and is held temporarily. Some of this information is then selected by the brain and transferred to long-term memory. This is the science behind primary and secondary memory.
Short-term vs Working memory
The research argues that working memory and short-term memory may be the same thing. However, differences exist. Working memory refers to the ability to use, manipulate and apply a memory for a period of time.
For instance, the ability to remember the instructions for fixing a puncture is working memory. However, short-term memory only refers to the temporary storage of information or immediate memory like where you’ve placed your car keys.
According to the Baddeley-Hitch model, working memory has two components: the phonological loop where you record auditory information and the place where visual and spatial information is stored.
How to reduce the risk of Dementia
Dementia is a term used to refer to the condition of progressive memory loss and other aspects of the brain’s capacity to think. In severe cases, dementia can affect a person’s ability to do their normal daily tasks and interact with other people.
It, therefore, becomes imperative for us to find ways to reduce the risks of dementia.
We can significantly reduce our risks of dementia by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, minimizing alcohol intake, avoiding smoking, and maintaining healthy blood pressure.
For residents of Malaysia and Singapore, we have another effective way of reducing the risk of dementia, it’s called Morilite. This is an all-natural supplement that can be taken daily. Morilite not only improves kidney health but also goes a step further to increase memory function and improve cognitive abilities. With Morilite, we can all avert the risk of getting dementia.
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