What is Short Term Memory Loss?

Short term memory loss is when a person can remember events from years ago, for example, but cannot clearly remember things that happened yesterday. The short term memory is also known as the primary or active memory and covers events from seconds ago to several days ago. Stored in the frontal lobe of the brain, the short term memory has much less capacity than long-term memory, where facts and memories are stored.

Causes of short term memory loss include medical problems, or may be an early symptom of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. However, other things can cause short term memory loss such as:

  • Head trauma during a fall or accident
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Seizures and epilepsy
  • Heart bypass surgery
  • Stroke
  • Depression

The cause of any short term memory loss greatly affects how it may be treated by doctors.

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How to Avoid Short Term Memory Loss

As always, the best remedy for memory loss is avoiding such a problem in the first place. Studies show there are several things we can do to minimize the risk of short term memory loss in later life, such as:

  • Enjoying exercise 3-5 times per week
  • Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (remember that 5-a-day rule!)
  • Keeping your brain active with crosswords, number puzzles such as Sudoku or  Ken-Ken
  • Learning a new language has been rated as a good way to keep the mind sharp and the memory active
  • Maintaining good sleep patterns
  • Drinking moderate amounts of red wine (within the Department of Health recommended weekly guidelines of 21 units of alcohol for men and 14 units for women)

How many of these activities do you do regularly?

How to Improve your Memory Function

One of the best ways to improve your short term memory loss is with the use of mnemonic devices and memory tools to retain information. Mnemonics is a trick for remembering facts or names. Learning rhymes such as “30 days hath September, April, June and November” is a good example. Other memory aids include associating a word or name with another related object as a memory prompt. For example, Rod has a red truck.

Playing memory games is another good way to keep the short term memory sharp. Have someone put 20 items on a tray. Scrutinize the objects for 30 seconds then remove the tray and try to write down every item you can remember. Again, grouping associated items together can help.

It’s never too early to start protecting yourself from short term memory loss. Run through the checklist of preventative activities again and make sure you include each one in your everyday life for the best possible short term memory health.