Myths That Could Be Hurting Your Memory

brain health

When your memory begins to slip, it makes everything in your life more challenging. Your work, health, finances, relationships, and independence are all likely to suffer. If you’re like most people, you probably have certain beliefs about cognitive decline. However, many of those accepted views are wrong. And they could be hurting your memory.

When it comes to your ability to remember, it’s important to know the facts. Here, we debunk 7 common memory myths and show you how to supercharge your brain and improve your memory.

If you’re like most people, you probably have certain beliefs about memory. However, many of those accepted beliefs are wrong. And they could be hurting your memory. Click To Tweet


MYTH #1: It’s normal to experience memory loss as you age.

FACT: If you’re in your 40s or beyond and you’re routinely forgetting where you put your keys, having difficulty remembering what you read in an article, or having trouble recalling people’s names, you may think it’s normal.

It’s common for friends, family members, and even medical professionals to downplay forgetfulness. A physician may even tell you that you have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and reassure you that it’s normal for your age.

But it isn’t.

Memory loss at any age need to be taken seriously. Developing brain fog or becoming increasingly forgetful in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s or even 80s may be common, but it’s not normal. It’s a sign of trouble.

MYTH #2: If you’re struggling with memory loss, it’s definitely Alzheimer’s disease.

When people experience memory loss, they usually fear that it’s Alzheimer’s disease. However, poor memory can be due to many different causes.

For example, causes of memory loss can include hypothyroidism, exposure to toxic mold or environmental toxins, inflammation, infections, concussions and traumatic brain injuries, dehydration, diabetes, insomnia, and medication side effects.

In addition, mental health disorders, such as clinical depression, anxiety disorders, and ADD/ADHD can contribute to memory impairment.

It’s also important to remember that Alzheimer’s disease isn’t the only type of dementia, although it does account for 60-80% of dementia cases. There are several types of dementia, including:

MYTH #3: The only way to tell if memory loss is due to Alzheimer’s disease is through autopsy.

The notion that you can only determine if Alzheimer’s is to blame for cognitive dysfunction is through autopsy is wrong. Functional brain imaging with SPECT scans can help identify blood flow and activity patterns associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.

At Amen Clinics, which has performed over 250,000 SPECT scans, overall low blood flow in the brain is the top brain-imaging predictor that a person will develop Alzheimer’s.

Healthy SPECT Scan

Alzheimer’s Disease SPECT Scan

SPECT can also help identify other causes of memory loss. For example, SPECT scans can show brain patterns linked to depression, head trauma, infections, exposure to toxins, and more.

Seeing the patterns on the scans helps medical and mental health professionals ask better questions to get to the root cause of the issue. Without brain imaging, it’s much more challenging to make an accurate diagnosis. 

MYTH #4: Young people don’t have to worry about memory loss.

FACT: Approximately 40% of people who are 65 years old or older experience some degree of memory impairment. However, one study published in BMJ shows that memory loss can start as early as 45. This emphasizes why it’s so important to start protecting your memory as early as possible.

People who are middle-aged may think that forgetting things like where you placed your glasses are just minor issues, but they’re an early warning sign that your memory could be in trouble.

The brain-imaging work at Amen Clinics clearly shows that harmful brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease begin in the brain years or even decades before symptoms appear. This means the brain is already deteriorating long before major memory issues occur.

MYTH #5:  Alzheimer’s only happens to the elderly.

FACT: An estimated 50% of people 85 years old and older are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. But that doesn’t mean that these are the only cases.

Early-onset dementia and early-onset Alzheimer’s is defined as disease occurring in people under the age of 65. Statistics from the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index show that a growing number of Americans are being affected by the early-onset forms of these conditions.

That data show that in 2017, about 131,000 individuals between the ages of 30 and 64 received a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. That represented a 200% increase over 2013 numbers.

MYTH #6: Memory loss is always the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory loss can be one of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, but it is not always the first symptom. Other early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include poor judgment, losing track of time, loss of sense of smell, strange visual problems, trouble managing finances, difficulty finding the right words, misplacing items, and getting lost in familiar places.

Additional signs include social isolation and changes in mood or personality. For example, some people become fearful and suspicious, while others develop depression and anxiety.

MYTH #7: Once your memory starts to fail, it’s too late to do anything about it.

FACT: Just because you’re starting to have memory problems doesn’t mean it has to continue getting worse. There are many strategies that can help improve memory. That’s because Alzheimer’s is a lifestyle disease.

For example, eating a healthy diet, challenging your brain with new learning, getting regular exercise, and reducing chronic stress can support the brain. Engaging in these healthy activities can actually increase the size of your hippocampus, the part of your brain associated with memory.

On the flip side, avoiding activities that harm the brain can also be beneficial. If you want to keep your mind sharp, eliminate excessive alcohol intake, stop using marijuana or other drugs, and avoid environmental toxins.

 If you take good care of your brain and body, your risk of dementia can significantly decline. Keep in mind, taking preventative measures is the best way to avoid Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Being serious about brain health has no age limit especially when a better brain means it can help improve your mood, health, appearance, memory, and body. You can create a brain-healthy life by learning how to love and care for the most important part of your body—your brain.

Memory loss, cognitive decline, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.



  1. So sorry you and your spouse are dealing with this, yet how blessed he is to have you! May God give both of you endurance and strength for this journey.

    Comment by Dawn Baggett — May 8, 2017 @ 7:49 AM

  2. Thank you so much Dawn for your kind words. You have no idea how much kind words help to sustain me on our journey. God bless you!

    Comment by Donna Thompson — May 8, 2017 @ 7:53 AM

  3. I’m a caregiver 24/7 , my husband has dementia and it’s very hard to not have help. I notice I’m forgetting more & more. I’m 73 years old really don’t need to be doing this alone but have no choice.

    Comment by Faye shepherd — April 25, 2018 @ 7:55 PM

  4. Donna, I’m a new subscriber but have received some good information snd plan on staying with this site for now. I went through radiation and aggressive chemo plan for 4 months for Stage 3 lung cancer and that also puts your brain (and body) through the ringer. Hoping to get information that can hellp undo some of the set backs from treatment.

    Sendind caring thoights to you and your loved one. Remember to take care of YOU the caregiver as well!!

    Comment by Therrds DeLong — April 28, 2018 @ 7:19 AM

  5. I actually think the brain could be the initiating source of many diseases of the body.

    Comment by Avette L Gaiser — May 3, 2018 @ 6:34 AM

  6. I had.. a accident.. i fell.. in… The lobby… And hit.. My head. With a brick wall…and now… I have… Hidrocefalia… Frontal My brain.. and short… Term… Memory loss… I was… I’m 59 year’s old…. And i a’m.. sufering..I a Big Battle.. forma me..Thankyou..’re Atención…

    Comment by Norma — May 21, 2018 @ 1:36 PM

  7. Hello Norma, we will have a Care Coordinator reach out to you via email to discuss the specifics of your injury and symptoms. Thank you for reaching out to us. If you’d like to reach us, please call 888-288-9834.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — May 22, 2018 @ 1:01 PM

  8. I truly believe the onset of dementia is part of growing older… even though Dementia runs in my family… I have been on a medication for about 4 months now!! The medicine, I do believe has helped, the only issue I have now is I keep repeating myself
    My significant other keeps telling me, you already told me, so whatever! At this point of my life I really don’t care , it us what it is! So be it

    Comment by Danice Foutz — June 2, 2018 @ 5:10 AM

  9. I was diagnosed as having a cognitive decline of ten percent. In earlier life I had been diagnosed as dyslexic, but made it through school and now have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree . I was trying to read from right to left instead of left to right when in grade school.

    Now, there’s “decline” supposedly. I’m aging, and from what I’ve read there are lots of older people who have it. I’m thinking it’s no big deal. I function as a home maker just fine. I do forget small things, but only once in a while, and nothing that important.

    Comment by Carol Gibson — June 6, 2018 @ 5:20 PM

  10. I am married to someone who has Semantic dementia and he is 59 yrs. old. It is tragic for anyone to have to go through this illness. I appreciate any help that is given. My heart broke when my husband saw our son when he came from college and he did not recognize him. Sad beyond words. This is truly the worst disease there is.

    Comment by Mary Stewart — June 7, 2018 @ 6:01 AM

  11. Donna, I do understand what you are going through. I cared for my father in law for 4 years in our home. And, years later I cared for my father for 8 years with Alzheimer’s too. It is very difficult to watch them fade away and become so dependent. I am grateful, I was able to take care of him with the help of my husband and my teenage daughters. I pray God continues to give you the strength and peace that you will need.

    Comment by Shelia E. Brown — June 30, 2018 @ 7:12 AM

  12. Bob, I see a valuable, common denominator here. Oxygen, breath, capacity, value of regular movement….our brains may be starving for more oxygen.
    And, making better choices with nutrition and lifestyle.
    God bless you all on the most important journey of your life…your it!

    Comment by Sandi — July 4, 2018 @ 6:13 AM

  13. Bob, how do you double chest expansion? I am not a swimmer and I have cervical spine damage C1-4 some part of which controls the diaphragm. I simply don’t breathe often enough. If I breathe on purpose, I get light headed. Also, FYI and others, Increasing B-complex and especially niacin has helped my brain immensely.

    Comment by Deborah Rhodes — July 4, 2018 @ 11:56 AM

  14. Faye, I’m so sorry. I went thru it mostly alone too. They say to reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association, but I never seemed to have time! I wasn’t even online back then…and it sure was lonely. Best wishes and ❤ love to you. I hope you find help…meanwhile, the Methodist Church in the next city had some programs that I found out about.

    Comment by Loretta Chandler — July 4, 2018 @ 3:17 PM

  15. Deborah, yes, I’ve read that B-3 Niacinamide every few hours really does help the brain! 🙂 😉

    Comment by Loretta Chandler — July 4, 2018 @ 3:25 PM

  16. The information on chest expansion is very interesting. Are there any medical studies to support this theory? I will certainly look for them. This site is an opportunity for intelligent discourse and social support. My thoughts are with those caretakers who are witnessing their loved ones’ decline. I hope they can get support from the Alzheimers Association. I contacted them on behalf of a friend and they were helpful.

    Comment by Carolyn P — July 6, 2018 @ 2:59 PM

  17. My 86 yr old husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; this is his second year! He has played the clarinet his whole life so I got it out and he played it for quite a while! The big change was his breathing! Instead of short, shallow breaths when sleeping, he took long slow wrath’s after playing the clarinet again!
    He does empty the dishwasher, sweeps and mops the kitchen floor, folds clothes for me! I try to make things fun, laugh at his accidents!
    I try to remind him he is not alone! We do take walks (he uses a cane) and we’re taking a Yoga class together! Our son and his wife have moved in to do housekeeping and helping! They do cooking and keep the kitchen spotless. Joe has been my husband for 58 years, always the athlete,( baseball, tennis, basketball) and sang bass in the church choir and university chorus. He taught school for 30 years! He is the last person I thought would get Alzheimer’s !

    Comment by Carolyn K Taylor — August 31, 2018 @ 6:09 PM

  18. Thx you all
    Keep sending

    Comment by Carol Hewitt — March 3, 2019 @ 8:54 AM

  19. I have been suffering Vertigo around two years now. Neuro doctors at most major teaching hospitals have not been able to help me.
    Further my short term memory is as bad as can be

    Wonder if memory loss has any linkage to the Vertigo that I am dealing with?

    Is there any help for any of the above? can Lyme disease possibly be involved with any of the above.?

    Would deeply appreciate any advise.

    Comment by frances La Brasca — August 12, 2019 @ 7:32 AM

  20. Mine is multifaceted and try as I may I’m just not sure how to proceed. I started by purchasing the Memory Rescue set with dad’s and reading materials that have really opened my eyes.I suffer from long-term ptsd steming from childhood as well as marriage and 2 near death experiences.To add to all this I am pre-diabetic and have hypertension. I have a leaking roof and a black mold problem. I am on ssdi and Medicare so my income is limited. My stress level has been thru the roof due to all this as well as having 2 sons with serious health issues, one had kidney cancer and now has only 1 kidney and other health issues. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Godbless you all ❤

    Comment by Carla Steele — March 31, 2022 @ 2:34 PM

  21. I have notice im not remembering some thingsl lately
    I am 77 years old very scated about it
    Can you help?

    Comment by Jonnie Decir — May 14, 2022 @ 6:39 AM

  22. Hello Jonnie, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to give you more information, please contact us here:

    Comment by Amen Clinics — May 16, 2022 @ 6:35 PM

  23. wonderful advice!

    Comment by Doug Morris — November 14, 2023 @ 2:50 PM

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