Two-time USA Memory Champion; memory training expert, and memory keynote, Ron White shares his thoughts on forgetfulness and memory loss.

As we age it’s common to forget some things, at various times. When you get stressed out or busy it’s easy to misplace something or simply forget what you were doing. Even young people, who should have sharp memories, have momentary lapses. Sometimes we call it ‘brain fog’ and other times it’s a ‘senior moment.’ How many times do you know the answer to something, but it’s just on the ‘tip of your tongue’ and doesn’t come to you until much later?  It’s not uncommon, or something to be worried about. 

If we didn’t have within us the capacity to forget, we’d all go crazy. It is a skill to be able to remember what is important and discard the rest. The older we get the more we have taken in and our brains, like a computer, just want to dump some of the excess baggage to make way for new information. But, how do you tell the difference between memory lapses and something more serious, and at what point does it become a serious problem?

A recent “Today” show episode featured Amy Brightfield, health director for Woman’s Day magazine, and neurologist Richard Isaacson, who joined hosts Hoda and Kathie Lee to break down the differences between simple memory lapses and a more serious mental condition like Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

According to Dr. Brightfield, “Under 65, Alzheimer’s is really, really rare and it’s even rarer under 50 and under 40. As you get older your brain is storing more information and it edits it.” As you get older your brain stores information and clears it out – Hear, Store, retrieve.

Simple momentary lapses, such as forgetting where you parked your car or left your keys are not signs of memory loss, according to Brightfield and Isaacson. There would be a problem if you forgot where you were, how you got there, or what your keys are used for. It also could be a problem if you are experiencing too many of those ‘senior moments,’ too often. In this case you need to see a physician immediately for them to check you out for a more serious problem.

Even though we tend to be more forgetful as we get older, it doesn’t mean we are losing our memory. Research suggests that immediate memory and lifetime memory do not change as we get older. Any memory change associated with healthy ageing doesn’t interfere with everyday life in any dramatic way.

How can you avoid the progression from simple memory loss to something more serious? Aside from chemical or hereditary problems in your body that may be treated with medication, there are other ways to improve your memory. “Interestingly enough,” Isaacson says, “You actually are what you eat and choosing the right foods can boost your memory.”

Decreasing carbohydrates and saturated fat, eating fish high in Omega 3 (lake trout, herring, mackerel and salmon), as well as fruits and vegetables has been proven to boost memory. Coffee lovers—pour another cup of ‘joe’ because that has been shown to help too.

It also doesn’t hurt to take a memory training seminar or workshop, or doe some brain games, such as puzzles, chess or an activity that will stimulate your brain.



Instant Recall Game – What’s the Difference Between Forgetfulness and Serious Memory Loss? by Audrey Morrison:

Better Health Channel – Dementia and Memory Loss: