What Are The Risk Factors For Covid
Its still too early to know what factors may put a person at higher risk for having short-term or more long-lasting cognitive issues post-COVID, says Friedly. Theres a lot of research going on right now thats trying to answer those specific questions, she adds.
Some research suggests that there may be some genetic component to it, says Friedly. It may be that people who have a particular gene that is common to having a higher risk for developing Alzheimers disease may also be associated with the risk for developing cognitive dysfunction post-COVID-19 we definitely need to do additional research to confirm that. There also may be other factors that we havent identified yet, she says.
Petersen agrees, saying, Its too early to know all factors that may put someone at risk for cognitive issues or neurologic injury related to COVID-19. In general, an older person or a person with other medical issues might be more susceptible, but a lot of that is speculation at this time, he says.
Difference Between Short And Long
It is thought that Long-term memories differ from short-term memories in the aspect of their longer duration. But the difference between these two types depends upon their definition by someone. Defining both types of memories in clear terms in the first step of differentiating between them.
These memories differ in two fundamental aspects. The first is the duration and the second being chunk capacity limits. There is a huge difference between the duration of these types of memories. Long-term memory has a duration of months and years while short-term memories are thought to stay only a few seconds. There is also a difference in capacity. Short-term memory stores only a tiny bit of information. On the other side, the capacity of long-term memory is thought to unlimited.
Physiologically, the process of establishment of long-term memory differs from that of short-term memory. It involves a change in neuronal structure i.e. long-term potentiation. New neural networks are created and strengthen. The neurons communicate with each other through synapses. The release of neurotransmitters in synaptic clefts enhances the communication between the cells. This whole process does not take place during the creation of short-term memories. Unlike short-term memory, the long-term memories are forgotten only in the case superimposition of a new neural network over the older network.
Accessing Memories Prompts Change
Studies suggest that memories are not saved in a static state and then pulled up with perfect clarity. Researchers have found that memories are transformed every single time they are accessed.
Neurons first encode memories in the cortex and hippocampus. Each time a memory is recalled, it is then re-encoded by a similar, but not identical, set of neurons.
Accessing memories often helps make them stronger, yet the research has found that this re-encoding can have an impact on how the information is remembered. Subtle details may change, and certain aspects of the memory may be strengthened, weakened, or even lost altogether depending on which neurons are activated.
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Will Memory Problems And Cognitive Issues Post
Virus-related changes in the brain resemble those seen in some Alzheimers patients.
The UW Medicine post-COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery clinic at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle is one of many clinics around the country treating people struggling with long-term effects of COVID-19, the so-called long haulers.
Weve seen hundreds and hundreds of people with many different lingering post-COVID-19 symptoms, and among the most common are problems with memory and thinking, says clinic director and physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, .
Its estimated than anywhere from one-fourth to one-third of people with COVID-19 have long-lasting symptoms and not just people who have been hospitalized. Approximately 1 in 3 people who had mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms reported lingering symptoms seven to nine months later, according to a study published in July 2021 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
People often report that theyre having difficulty finding the right words and remembering things that are very common to them, such as the names of their friends, the locations of familiar things, and driving directions, says Dr. Friedly.
A study published July 15, 2021 in The Lancet looked at COVID-19 long-haulers and found that six months after infection, the most common symptoms included fatigue, malaise after exertion, and cognitive problems or brain fog.
Normal Aging Vs Potential Health Issues
Memory issues should only become a concern when they begin to affect a persons daily life.
Normal memory loss associated with aging involves the following types of more occasional memory loss behavior:
- Not being able to remember the name of an acquaintance
- Forgetting things and events sometimes
- Occasionally having difficulty finding the right words
Whereas memory loss behaviors that could indicate a health concern involve forgetting more crucial information:
- Not recognizing or knowing the names of family members
- Forgetting things or events more frequently
- Forgetting directions to commonly traveled places
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Memory Loss And Aging
Weve all misplaced keys, blanked on someones name, or forgotten a phone number. When youre young, you dont tend to pay much attention to these lapses, but as you grow older, you may worry about what they mean. Perhaps you start to talk about a movie you saw recently when you realize you cant remember the title. Youre giving directions to your house when you suddenly blank on a familiar street name. Or you find yourself standing in the middle of the kitchen wondering what you went in there for. Memory lapses can be frustrating, but most of the time they arent cause for concern. Age-related memory changes are not the same thing as dementia.
As you grow older, you experience physiological changes that can cause glitches in brain functions youve always taken for granted. It takes longer to learn and recall information. Youre not as quick as you used to be. In fact, you may mistake this slowing of your mental processes for true memory loss. But in most cases, if you give yourself time, the information will come to mind. So, while its true that certain brain changes are inevitable when it comes to aging, major memory problems are not one of them. Thats why its important to know the difference between normal age-related forgetfulness and the symptoms that may indicate a developing cognitive problem.
A Vaccine Is The Best Defense Against Cognitive Changes Due To Covid
While were still figuring out who is at risk for the post-COVID-19 symptoms, we do know that the single biggest risk factor for experiencing them is getting infected with COVID-19 in the first place, says Friedly. The more that you can do to protect yourself against getting the virus, the lower your risk of any related long-term cognitive dysfunction, she says.
In terms of comparing the risks, COVID-19 poses a far greater risk than getting the vaccine I highly encourage everyone to get vaccinated, says Friedly.
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Boost Your Brain With Neurofuel
To further increase your mental performance, add nootropic supplements such as Natural Stacks NeuroFuel to your daily routine. This scientifically-tested formula contains natural ingredients that are combined specifically to provide better brain performance. Some of these include:
- Luteolin from artichoke extract inhibits PDE4, which is an enzyme that breaks down your neurotransmitter molecules. In return you can expect increased cognition, improved long term memory, increased wakefulness, and neuroprotection.
- Forskolin is a traditional plant derivative that supports production and health of neurotransmitters.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine is involved in energy metabolism and mitochondrial protection, so helps combat feelings of brain fog and fatigue.
All of these powerful compounds combine to provide users with extensive positive effects such as: Increased motivation and mental endurance. Improved concentration and alertness. Improved mood and social ease. Enhanced ability to study and learn new information.
You should notice that not only do these effects help with memory, but they also help with attentiveness! So almost like a 2-for-1 deal, youll be better prepared to pay attention and form new memories , and youll be better at remembering them when you need to!
Overcoming Contamination From Chunking And The Use Of Long
Another way to take into account the role of multi-item chunk formation is to set up the task in a manner that allows chunks to be observed. studied free recall of word lists with various levels of structure, ranging from random words to well-formed English sentences, with several different levels of coherence in between. A chunk was defined as a series of words reproduced by the participant in the same order in which the words had been presented. It was estimated that, in all conditions, participants recalled an average of four to six chunks. tried to refine that method by testing serial recall of eight-word lists, which were composed of four pairs of words that previously had been associated with various levels of learning . Each word used in the list was presented an equal number of times but what varied was how many of those presentations were as singletons and how many were as a consistent pairing. The number of paired prior exposures was held constant across the four pairs in a list. A mathematical model was used to estimate the proportion of recalled pairs that could be attributed to the learned association as opposed to separate recall of the two words in a pair. This model suggested that the capacity limit was about 3.5 chunks in every learning condition, but that the ratio of two-word chunks to one-word chunks increased as a function of the number of prior exposures to the pairs in the list.
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Drugs That Cause Short
Sometimes its the drug treatment for a health condition, not the condition itself, that causes memory loss.
There are many prescription drugs that list short-term memory loss as a side effect.
A group of drugs called anticholinergics can trigger short-term memory loss by blocking the action of acetylcholine, the main neurotransmitter associated with learning and memory.
Acetylcholine is also essential for turning short-term memories into long-term ones.
The level of acetylcholine naturally declines with age which puts older adults at greater risk for memory loss induced by their medications.
Two of the worst kinds of medications for short-term memory loss are anti-anxiety drugs and narcotic painkillers .
And its not only prescription drugs that can affect your memory.
Some over-the-counter remedies such as the antihistamine Benadryl are anticholinergic and have been linked to dementia.
And as you might expect, recreational substances ranging from alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana to heroin and cocaine take a toll on short-term memory.
Historical Roots Of A Basic Scientific Question
How many phases of a memory are there? In a naïve view of memory, it could be made all of one cloth. Some people have a good ability to capture facts and events in memory, whereas others have less such ability. Yet, long before there were true psychological laboratories, a more careful observation must have shown that there are separable aspects of memory. An elderly teacher might be seen relating old lessons as vividly as he ever did, and yet it might be evident that his ability to capture the names of new students, or to recall which student made what comment in an ongoing conversation, has diminished over the years.
The scientific study of memory is usually traced back to Hermann , who examined his own acquisition and forgetting of new information in the form of series of nonsense syllables tested at various periods upto 31 days. Among many important observations, Ebbinghaus noticed that he often had a first fleeting grasp of the series in moments of special concentration but that this immediate memory did not ensure that the series had been memorized in a way that would allow its recall later on. Stable memorization sometimes required further repetitions of the series. Soon afterward, proposed a distinction between primary memory, the small amount of information held as the trailing edge of the conscious present, and secondary memory, the vast body of knowledge stored over a lifetime. The primary memory of James is like the first fleeting grasp of Ebbinghaus.
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When To Visit The Doctor For Memory Loss
If you, a family member, or friend has problems remembering recent events or thinking clearly, talk with a doctor. He or she may suggest a thorough checkup to see what might be causing the symptoms. You may also wish to talk with your doctor about opportunities to participate in research on cognitive health and aging.
At your doctor visit, he or she can perform tests and assessments, which may include a brain scan, to help determine the source of memory problems. Your doctor may also recommend you see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the brain and nervous system.
Memory and other thinking problems have many possible causes, including depression, an infection, or medication side effects. Sometimes, the problem can be treated, and cognition improves. Other times, the problem is a brain disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which cannot be reversed.
Finding the cause of the problems is important for determining the best course of action. Once you know the cause, you can make the right treatment plan. People with memory problems should make a follow-up appointment to check their memory every six to 12 months. They can ask a family member, friend, or the doctor’s office to remind them if they’re worried they’ll forget.
Brain Exercises To Combat Memory Loss
Just as physical exercise can make and keep your body stronger, mental exercise can make your brain work better and lower your risk of mental decline. Try to find brain exercises that you find enjoyable. The more pleasurable an activity is to you, the more powerful its effect will be on your brain. You can make some activities more enjoyable by appealing to your sensesby playing music during the exercise, for example, or lighting a scented candle, or rewarding yourself after youve finished.
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Reversible Causes Of Memory Loss
Its important to remember that memory loss doesnt automatically mean that you have dementia. There are many other reasons why you may be experiencing cognitive problems, including stress, depression, and even vitamin deficiencies. Thats why its so important to go to a doctor to get an official diagnosis if youre experiencing problems.
Sometimes, even what looks like significant memory loss can be caused by treatable conditions and reversible external factors, such as:
Depression. Depression can mimic the signs of memory loss, making it hard for you to concentrate, stay organized, remember things, and get stuff done. Depression is a common problem in older adultsespecially if youre less social and active than you used to be or youve recently experienced a number of important losses or major life changes .
Vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 protects neurons and is vital to healthy brain functioning. In fact, a lack of B12 can cause permanent damage to the brain. Older people have a slower nutritional absorption rate, which can make it difficult for you to get the B12 your mind and body need. If you smoke or drink, you may be at particular risk. If you address a vitamin B12 deficiency early, you can reverse the associated memory problems. Treatment is available in the form of a monthly injection.
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Capacity And Duration Of Long
So how much information can be stored in the brain in the form of long-term memory? And for how much time? Well, it depends on several factors. Generally speaking, scientists believe that a human brain can store an unlimited amount for a duration that may go beyond decades.
The first factor that influences the duration of long-term memory is the way memory was encoded. Optimally encoded memories last much longer than shallow processed memories. Another factor is the retrieval of memory. The number of times a specific memory is accessed plays an important role in the strengthening of memory. This is probably the reason for better retrieval of information that is repeated and practiced again and again. Giving attention and focus to the information makes it stick to the brain for a relatively long time.
The capacity of long-term memory is thought to have no limits. According to some studies, the upper bound on the size of visual and acoustic long-term memory has not been reached. We may find it difficult to encode the details of many events but under certain conditions, a person succeeds when he focuses and tries to encode the information.
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Reduce Stress And Get Good Sleep
I dont know about you, but when Im stressed, I dont sleep well. And when I dont sleep well, I get stressed. This can be an endless, vicious cycle that impacts many aspects of life, especially things like mood, mental performance and memory recall. This makes sense because, stress can be a distractor that negatively impacts cognitive function. Moreover, sleep is important for both physical and mental recovery, as well as reinforcing memories. If this problem sounds familiar, here are three simple things you can do to reduce stress, get back to a better sleep routine, and improve your short-term memory.
No One Knows How Many People Are Affected
As with much regarding COVID-19, a disease that emerged only a year ago, the prevalence of brain fog as a long-hauler symptom is not currently known.
French researchers queried 120 patients a month after they were released from the hospital for COVID-19 complications. Some 34 percent reported continued memory loss and 28 percent said they had problems concentrating. The study was published by the Journal of Infection in August 2020.
Brain fog is now listed as a reported long-term symptom by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , albeit a less common one than fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint aches, or chest pain.
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