Most often, people over 50-60 years of age complain about memory problems, but a person can face this disorder even at thirty. We find an answer to this question in the results of research conducted by world-renowned psychology professor Andre Alleman. Prof. Aleman published these data in his book: "Brain in Retirement"
The modern person has to remember a huge amount of information. And because it is impossible to keep everything in his head, he often gets into confusing situations - either at work or at home. Evolution has not been able to adapt the human brain to such loads. How then shall we cope? Nowadays, everywhere, mainly on television and the Internet, we are bombarded with all kinds of promises: "You will improve your memory in a week!", "With this tool you will never forget anything again", "Unique tablets and miracle supplements - a clear mind and a good memory!” So: are these ads really true? Can we drink a bottle of pills and change ourselves - to become more attentive, to remember more easily and for a long time and even more quickly to adapt to a specific situation? Or can't?…
Miracle medicines are still underdeveloped. Scientists cannot fully understand whether it is possible to create a drug that stimulates memory and attention without causing side effects. So rest assured: there is currently no drug that can safely and reliably improve our memory or our cognitive abilities. Only the placebo is able to positively affect memory. However, scientists are constantly developing and testing new preparations, so there is hope…
New drug under development
Prof. Linda Partridge - founder and director of the German Institute for the Biology of Aging, a pioneer in the study of he althy aging, two years ago in an interview spoke about the fact that soon the world will see a miracle: a special tablet is being developed for the elderly that will allow them to maintain their he alth at a good level. It would be a drug with multiple active substances, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, normalizing cholesterol, insulin and metabolism. And last but not least, this super pill would have a direct impact on cognitive abilities – memory, attention, thinking. Why? Let's see.
Nowadays, many studies are devoted to the so-called correctors of impaired cognitive functions, designed to improve memory and mental abilities. These same "correctors" include drugs such as donepezil, memantine and modafinil. All three are available in Bulgaria, as they are already used to treat Alzheimer's disease. A slight improvement in memory and attention has been noted in people who take them. But these substances in any case do not stop the development of the disease, but slow it down for a short time. In the USA, for example, an experiment was conducted that showed the following: donepezil actually helps to remember words easily. However, it turned out that this was only the case when the corresponding indicated word evoked pleasant emotions and the person thought about it. Agree that this is practically impossible to happen in real life. And another experiment with the same drug, in the course of which scientists checked whether it helps elderly people to better drive their cars and focus on the road situation. The results were not at all positive: the preparation turned out to be nothing more than a placebo effect.
The rather expensive preparation memantine acts on the substance glutamate produced in the brain, which is critically important for memory and the learning process. Tests on animals and patients with dementia (Alzheimer's) have shown positive results. But no one has yet tested this preparation on he althy people with mild memory problems.
Modafinil, according to its manufacturers, has an almost miraculous effect. It not only improves attention, working memory and clarity of mind. It contributes to a person staying awake and not sleeping for a long time, fighting fatigue. But notice, this preparation is doping. In fact, it is a mild drug, the consequences of its intake can be unpredictable. Modafinil has been reported to have been used by astronauts and the military, particularly in French and American secret operations where soldiers were forced to go long hours without sleep. And last but not least – this preparation has a lot of side effects, so the result of it in the end turns out to be deplorable.
Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 slow down dumbing down
Many of us prefer to try different mixtures and medicinal herbs. Herbalists have been preparing all kinds of potions and infusions for the treatment of almost any disease. This was especially popular in ancient China, where treatises were found describing the he alth benefits of plants. Now pharmacies are filled with all kinds of natural plant products for the treatment of various diseases. Let's assume that the popular St. John's wort helps with depression. And how to influence memory, concentration, attention, thinking? Despite loud claims that one or another product stimulates the brain and improves cognitive functions magnificently, scientific evidence exists for only two substances - vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Only they can delay cognitive decline to some extent.
There is a lot of evidence that vitamin B12 is extremely important for brain function in the elderly. As soon as its deficiency is established (and according to statistics, this happens in 15-20 percent of adults), first of all, a problem with memory, attention and mental abilities appears, weakness and fatigue appear. Moreover, the lack of this vitamin is associated with a decrease in the volume of gray matter in the brain. Therefore, it is advisable to include in your menu cod and herring, eggs, milk, beef, soy products and sea cabbage - they are all rich in vitamin B! And yet there is no 100% evidence that this vitamin improves memory at any age. So don't feel obligated after the age of 30 to ingest pounds of seaweed.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in oily fish, are the other substance that really improves mental abilities, but again mostly in the elderly. By the way, it has a very beneficial effect on the heart and blood vessels. There are many studies that prove it. Participants in an experiment with an average age of 78, regularly consuming oily fish, did very well on memory and concentration tasks.
And although the connection between fish oil and good brain function is obvious, it is not yet clear whether it can become a miracle drug that quickly improves memory, attention and intelligence. In general, it is not necessary for fish oil to enhance memory and concentration, but its regular intake - 2-3 times a week is beneficial for the brain.
Ginkgo biloba helps Alzheimer's patients
Ginkgo, coffee and ginseng are among the more popular plants that temporarily improve concentration and attention. Ginkgo biloba is a Chinese tree whose age sometimes reaches a thousand years. Ginkgo leaf extract helps cleanse the brain of free radicals. These are the byproducts of metabolism that destroy brain tissue. Ginkgo strengthens the walls of nerve cells, accelerates the recovery of damaged brain areas and enhances brain activity related to working memory. According to Australian scientists, this means that ginkgo is also good for memory, even though these data were mainly obtained with animal experiments.
The effect of ginkgo has only been studied in Alzheimer's patients and indeed sometimes gave positive results. And what is left for he althy people who forget where they left their keys, for example? Science is powerless here yet.
Ginseng is a familiar plant from China. However, here the active substances are not contained in the leaves, but in the roots. Ginseng root is one of the most popular medicinal herbs in the world.