Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Preventing Memory Loss?

By Chris Woolston, M.S.older woman sitting outside

Have you ever asked for a “whatchamacallit” when you really needed a hammer? Did you ever forget the
name of someone you just met? Even in the best of cases, memory is surprisingly fragile. As a person gets older, memory glitches can become a little more common — and more frightening. Young people laugh off their forgetful moments, but many older people worry that every slipup is a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. How much do you know about aging, memory, and the warning signs of Alzheimer’s? Take this short quiz to find out.

1. Your memory is practically guaranteed to slip a little as you get older.

True

False

2. As you age, there’s not much you can do to improve your memory.

True

False

3. Which of these is a clear sign of a serious memory problem?

a. Forgetting where you parked your car

b. Losing your car keys

c. Temporarily forgetting a common word

d. None of the above

4. Which of these is a sign of normal age-related memory loss?

a. Finding yourself unable to do routine tasks, like preparing a meal

b. Forgetting how to balance a checkbook

c. Having trouble finding familiar places when driving

d. Needing extra time to do calculations in your head

5. When a person develops Alzheimer’s disease, short-term memory is the first type of memory to go.

True

False

6. Which of these conditions can cause reversible memory loss?

a. Thyroid hormone deficiency

b. Depression

c. Vitamin B-12 deficiency

d. All of the above

7. Heavy alcohol use may harm day-to-day memory.

True

False

8. Most people over age 65 have some form of Alzheimer’s disease.

True

False

Answers

1. Your memory is practically guaranteed to slip a little as you get older.

The correct answer is: True

According to the American Federation of Aging Research, mild memory problems are a nearly inevitable part of aging. After all, the brain shrinks and loses brain cells as it gets older. For most people, age-related memory loss is a nuisance that never becomes a major problem.

2. As you age, there’s not much you can do to improve your memory.

The correct answer is: False

No matter what your age, there are many things you can do to stay mentally sharp. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends keeping your brain and body as active as possible. Recent research has found that walking 6 miles a week will help preserve memory and stave off Alzheimer’s disease (nd if someone already has Alzheimer’s, scientists found that walking only 5 miles a week would slow the progress of the disease). Other research suggests that consuming fish or fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help preserve memory, and some scientists are investigating the possible brain protection provided by tumeric, used in Indian curries. If your memory is simply fading a bit, you can help yourself out by making lists, keeping a detailed calendar, repeating aloud new information (such as names of people you just met), and putting important things (such as your car keys) in the same place every time.

3. Which of these is a clear sign of a serious memory problem?

The correct answer is: d: None of the above

If losing your car keys and forgetting where you parked your car were signs of Alzheimer’s disease, plenty of 20-year-olds would be in big trouble. These sorts of memory glitch can happen to anyone. You shouldn’t worry about such lapses unless they become much more common or start interfering with your life.

4. Which of these is a sign of normal age-related memory loss?

The correct answer is: d.: Needing extra time to do calculations in your head

It’s only natural to have a little trouble with numbers as you get older. Everything else in this list is a warning sign of a serious memory problem. In short, any rapid, severe memory loss is a cause for concern.

5. When a person develops Alzheimer’s disease, short-term memory is the first type of memory to go.

The correct answer is: True

People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s often forget about things that just happened. They may repeat a story or the same question many times, or do the same task over again. In the early stage of Alzheimer’s, even as short-term memory starts to fade, they can usually remember many details from their childhood.

6. Which of these conditions can cause reversible memory loss?

The correct answer is: d. All of the above

Although Alzheimer’s disease is incurable, many other conditions can cause memory problems that get better with treatment. The list includes depression, diabetes, side effects from medications, severe hypothyroidism, and vitamin B-12 deficiency. If you’re worried about your memory, schedule an appointment with your family doctor.

7. Heavy alcohol use may harm day-to-day memory.

The correct answer is: True

In rare cases, excessive alcohol use over a long period of time can cause Korsakoff’s syndrome, which destroys a person’s ability to store new information. But moderate to heavy alcohol use may damage the memory in other ways as well. A study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that heavy drinkers reported 30 percent more memory-related problems than those who didn’t drink. Even “moderate” drinkers who consumed 10 to 25 drinks a week had significantly more memory problems than non-drinkers.

8. Most people over age 65 have some form of Alzheimer’s disease.

The correct answer is: False

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, only about 10 percent of people over 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. For people over the age of 85, the odds of having Alzheimer’s are about 50-50. So if you forget something tomorrow, there’s no reason to assume the worst.

— Chris Woolston, MS, is a health and medical writer with a master’s degree in biology. He was a staff writer at Hippocrates, a magazine for physicians and has also covered science issues for Time Inc. Health, WebMD, the Los Angeles Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

References

Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s Association. www.alz.org

Ling, J at al. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. June 2003.

Langlais, Philip J. “Alcohol-Related Thiamine Deficiency.” Alcohol Health and Research World;113

Forgetfulness: It’s Not Always What You Think. National Institute of Aging: AgePage. www.nia.nih/gov/health/agepages/forgetfulness.htm

American Academy of Family Physicians. How does aging change the brain? http://familydoctor.org/healthfacts/124/index.html

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By | 2017-05-09T20:21:12+00:00 May 8th, 2017|Information|Comments Off on Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Preventing Memory Loss?