Posts Tagged ‘Memory_and_Aging’

Harry Lorayne: Ageless Mnemonist

March 29, 2010

I was most pleased to come across Harry Lorayne’s book, Ageless Memory: Simple Secrets for Keeping Your Brain Young. Harry Lorayne is probably the foremost mnemonist and advocate of mnemonic techniques. Mnemonic techniques are techniques designed for improving memory. A mnemonist is an expert practitioner of mnemonic techniques. He has demonstrated fantastic memory feats on television and throughout the world. The Book of Genius (Stanley Paul Publishers, 1994) discusses his record of having met and remembered the names and faces of more than 7,500,00 people. He has written many books on memory techniques, the best known being probably being the best seller that he wrote with basketball great, Jerry Lucas, The Memory Book. Ageless Memory discusses most, if not all, of the techniques in The Memory Book, plus a few more. There is a chapter that applies mnemonic techniques to computer tasks. Each chapter includes a “Special Mind-Power” Exercise.

Lorayne provides two reasons for using these techniques. One is the most obvious one, they can improve your memory. The second is that using these techniques can keep your memory healthy and young. Readers of the Healthymemory Blog will recognize that one of the themes of this blog is devoted to memory techniques, and the justification for this theme is the same as Harry Lorayne’s. They will not only improve your memory, but they should also foster brain health and keep your brain young as you age. There is also reason to think that you can improve your memory as you age, so that it is better than you were young.

Healthymemory Blog has three themes. One theme is titled “Human Memory: Theory and Data.” This theme presents data on human memory documenting its fallibility. Your memory was probably never as good as you thought it was. It is important to have a good understanding of memory so that you can be aware of its shortcomings and biases so that you are able to compensate for these shortcomings and biases and to take remedial action.

The second theme is mnemonic techniques, that we have already discussed. Here you can find a wide variety of techniques that not only will improve memory, but will also foster brain health.

The third theme is transactive memory which explores how both technology and fellow humans can aid and enhance memory.

The blog postings under these categories can be found along the sidebar. If you cannot see these categories along the sidebar, type healthymemory.wordpress.com into the URL space for your browser and hit enter.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

An Interesting Article on Boosting Brain Health

March 16, 2010

There is an interesting article in the March/April AARP magazine. It is written by a physician, P. Murali Doraiswamy, and is titled “Boost Your Brain Health.” This article has been cited in previous postings. It points out our memory strengths as we age. Our crystallized intelligence, our vocabulary and knowledge, can continue to grow and increase. Some impressive examples are cited of memory performance being maintained in spite of large losses in the physical brain. Losses in speed of processing do occur, but they can be mitigated through training and practice.

What I find most impressive about this article is that it does not propose one specific magic bullet for boosting brain health. We are constantly bombarded with adds regarding specific pills that will solve the problem. Or that there is a specific game you can play to maintain cognitive functioning. Avoid gimmicks. No product builds extra brainpower instantly or effortlessly. Both the brain and memory are way too complex to be amenable to a simple solution.

The article recommends the following ten helpful habits: 

  1. Walk and talk. Find a walking partner and a topic to discuss during your walks.
  2. Vary your routine. Try new things. Seek out novelty.
  3. Get smart. Be a lifelong learner and go beyond superficial learning.
  4. Play games. Pick games with several levels of difficulty. Look for timed games where you need to beat the clock.
  5. De-stress. Engage in activities that reduce stress. Meditate, walk, focus and relax.
  6. Sleep. Your brain remains active when you sleep continuing to process and relate the information of the day.
  7. Imagine. Be creative, paint, write (or employ mnemonic techniques). Visit new websites or build your own.
  8. Party. Meaning do not be a loner. Engage socially.
  9. Eat right. You have heard this before. To keep oxygen flowing to the brain consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fish.
  10. Watch your numbers. Blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
  11. The Healthymemory blog strongly endorses these recommendations. It provides direct support to habits 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.

Many scientists believe that the buildup of a “cognitive reserve” wards off mental decline. The Healthymemory Blog strongly subscribes to this view. It supports three themes to this end.

The first theme can be found under the category “Human Memory: Theory and Data.” You will find posts here that will build your understanding of how human memory works. You will also learn of fallacies, biases, and processing errors that are common to all of us. Learning about them will allow you to avoid them. So your performance will not only improve, but will also help you avoid decision making errors that can have adverse effects on your finances.

The second theme can be found under the category of “Mnemonic Techniques.” Here you will find specific techniques for improving your memory. These techniques have the potential not only of improving your memory performance, but of also providing exercises that improve brain health.

The third theme is transactive memory. This little known concept has two parts. One is the reliance upon your fellow humans for improving your memory and brain health. The other is the use of technology for improving your memory and brain health.

To access these themes, click on the appropriate links under Categories on the sideboard.  (If you don’t see the Categories link on the sideboard, then go to healthymemory.wordpress.com)

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.