What Your Doctor Might Be Missing About Your Memory Problems

The Myth About Memory Loss

Be honest, is your memory getting worse? Are you forgetting appointments? Do you frequently misplace your keys or phone? Do you often wonder why you came into a room? Are you struggling with brain fog?

If you’re concerned about memory problems, you may seek professional help. Unfortunately, given how most doctors approach this issue you can’t count on traditional medicine to rescue your memory. In fact, conventional healthcare professionals often perpetuate a myth about memory loss that actually prevents you from rescuing your memory.

THE MYTH ABOUT MEMORY LOSS

Here’s a common scenario: You’re having difficulty remembering conversations, forgetting where you put your reading glasses, or briefly getting lost driving in familiar areas. So, you see your primary care physician or local neurologist, who asks you a few questions, gives you some short tests and orders an MRI. Based on your results, traditional medical professionals will often tell you the #1 myth about memory loss: “Everyone has memory problems with age. It’s normal.” In reality, losing your memory or developing brain fog in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, or even 80s is common, but it’s NOT normal.

The #1 myth about memory loss: “Everyone has memory problems with age. It’s normal.” In reality, losing your memory or developing brain fog in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, or even 80s is common, but it’s NOT normal. Click To Tweet

The report on your MRI comes back as “mild, age-appropriate brain atrophy.” Your doctor tells you that you have “mild cognitive impairment” (MCI) or early Alzheimer’s disease. You’re reassured that it’s common, and you’ll likely retain your personality and long-term memory until later in the illness. You’re encouraged to get your affairs in order, given a prescription for Aricept (a common memory medication that has short term benefits, but loses its effects after 18 months), and told to make a follow-up appointment in 6 months.

That’s literally the extent of the work-up in 80-90% of the people who visit Amen Clinics for memory problems after going through the traditional medical system. Before visiting Amen Clinics, they say they received no discussion about eliminating risk factors, exercise, diet, supplementation, or memory training exercises. It’s completely ineffective, heartbreaking, and unconscionable given what we know now.

WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING IN THE BRAIN BEFORE MEMORY SYMPTOMS APPEAR?

In 2011, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) revised its staging guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease.

The old guidelines had 3 stages:

  1. Normal: no symptoms
  2. Mild cognitive impairment: people or relatives have started to notice a problem
  3. Alzheimer’s disease: a significant problem is present and getting worse.

Based on new brain imaging data, the NIA added a new, 4th stage.

  1. Normal
  2. Preclinical: no obvious symptoms, but negative changes can be seen on a brain scan
  3. Mild cognitive impairment
  4. Alzheimer’s disease

Can you see the problem here? You have no symptoms at all, but your brain is already starting to deteriorate. Brain imaging research, including a 2014 study in Neuro-degenerative Diseases, show that negative changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease begin years or even decades before there are any signs of trouble!

A person who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 59 likely started to show disconcerting brain changes by 30. And someone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in their early 70s likely had evidence of brain deterioration in their 40s.

Someone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in their early 70s likely had evidence of brain deterioration in their 40s. Click To Tweet

Your brain’s history is NOT its destiny. Even if you have brain fog or trouble remembering now, it doesn’t mean you always will. You can start having a better memory today.

THE MEMORY RESCUE PROGRAM

The best way to sharpen your memory, reverse brain aging, and prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is to eliminate, prevent, or treat the 11 major risk factors that steal your mind, represented by the mnemonic (a memory device) BRIGHT MINDS.

See how many of the following BRIGHT MINDS risk factors you have.

B – Blood flow problems: hypertension or pre-hypertension, stroke, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol problems, erectile dysfunction, exercising less than twice a week

R – Retirement/Aging: risk increases with age (over 50); a lack of new learning is another important risk factor—when you stop learning, your brain starts dying

I – Inflammation: gum disease, high homocysteine or C-reactive protein blood levels, low omega-3 fatty acids

G – Genetics: a family member with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia or Parkinson’s disease, or having the Apo E4 gene

H – Head trauma: a history of head injuries with or without loss of consciousness; playing contact sports (even without a concussion)

T – Toxins: alcohol or drug abuse, exposure to toxins in the environment (toxic mold, pollution) or personal products, cancer chemotherapy, etc.

M – Mental health issues: chronic stress, depression, ADD/ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia

I – Immunity/Infection Issues – chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune issues, such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis; or untreated infections, such as Lyme disease

N – Neurohormone imbalances: low thyroid, testosterone (males and females), estrogen and progesterone (females), low DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), high cortisol

D – Diabesity: diabetes, pre-diabetes, and obesity

S – Sleep problems: chronic insomnia and sleep apnea

The good news is that almost all of these risk factors are either preventable or treatable. Even the ones that aren’t, such as having a family history of dementia, can be ameliorated with the right memory rescue program.

Memory issues can’t wait. Amen Clinics has created a proven Memory Rescue Program that can help you address your risk factors, train your brain, and improve your memory.

We are available for in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.

34 Comments

  1. I had slight memory loss before I got sepsis. Since then it has gotten worse. I notice it myself as do other family members. I was released from the hospital after a day and a half without any therapy even though the doctor had told my daughter I may not make. It has been a struggle. I don’t know if what I’m experiencing is dementia or from the sepsis .

    Comment by Judith Trurx — October 23, 2020 @ 3:42 AM

  2. Really want to know how to treat my husband’s memory loss. Told by the Nerologist that he has had brain bleeds because of hypertension.

    Comment by Gail Ruetz — October 23, 2020 @ 4:05 AM

  3. I came there in Jan-March 2017 to New York Clinic – so would I need another scan?

    Comment by Ceidre Culverwell — October 23, 2020 @ 4:06 AM

  4. Thank you for this article. Can you add a second article that lists treatments or supplements that treat each of these risk factors?

    Comment by David — October 23, 2020 @ 5:04 AM

  5. You are right about doctor tell you it’s normal

    Comment by Cheryl Thompson — October 23, 2020 @ 5:57 AM

  6. Good information! Keeping active, continuing to learn is not to be treaty lightly! Too many people work until retirement and then sit on the chair waiting for death to come for them.

    Comment by Ralph D Turner — October 23, 2020 @ 6:37 AM

  7. I love your articles and find them immensely helpful. I believe in preventive strategies and all the things you advise. However, that’s all well and good, however, when I’ve called for getting diagnostic information I find there is nothing close by for me to seek a brain scan and counseling. I can’t go to Chicago or New York. Why isn’t your organization able to partner with physicians in our mid America large cities like right here in Columbus Ohio, the home of OSU. This is very frustrating. You should be able to give adequate referrals where things you think are important can be attained.

    Comment by Carole Barkley — October 23, 2020 @ 7:18 AM

  8. I’d like to know if my brain fog is something more.

    Comment by Debra Jenkins — October 23, 2020 @ 8:45 AM

  9. I have memory problems that seem to be increasing rapidly over the last couple of years. Recalling information that I know I know, remembering names and the embarrassing social conversations where I cannot remember what I want to say or recalling information

    Comment by William Henry Langford — October 23, 2020 @ 9:03 AM

  10. I think one thing people should not do is freak out over slight memory loss. If you walk into a room and forget why you’re there, don’t freak out, it happens to everyone. There’s even a name for it. It’s called the “doorway effect” and yes, everyone, even young people do it. I think some people become obsessed with the idea they have Alzheimer’s or severe memory loss when they just aren’t paying as much attention to stuff as they used to. When I forget what I was doing, I generally go back where I started, take a minute and think. I usually remember what I was doing or what I wanted. But if you angst over not remembering, get scared, and become overly anxious that will harm your memory even more. Well, that’s just my take on it anyway.

    Comment by Geri Teasley — October 23, 2020 @ 9:08 AM

  11. I am interested in knowing about sundowning. I have some difficulty remembering the time between the nightly news and bedtime. Is that a definition of it?

    Comment by Cathryn A Hay — October 23, 2020 @ 9:42 AM

  12. I have done Neurofeedback but after 1 year of treatment and improvment my Neuropsy told my that I had probably something physical that block my plein recovery….Probably wifi, but also maybe hypothyroidy…I have to check. Never had spect scan but I had few qEEG… during the summer I had major depression which I had not in february 2020… maybe COVID and feelin lonely. My memory is pretty bad…often have recal issues…I also have lots of stress in my life which could cause that.

    Comment by christine brassard — October 23, 2020 @ 10:17 AM

  13. I’m experiencing short term memory loss

    Comment by Dottie Leonard — October 23, 2020 @ 10:44 AM

  14. I really wish I could afford treatment at the Amen Clinics because even though I am only in my early 50’s, I have memory problems. I would love to get a college degree, but my memory has gotten worse throughout the years, and a PCP told me to just “tough it out”.

    Comment by Margaret — October 23, 2020 @ 10:47 AM

  15. All my father’s family had memory lose.
    Now I am starting to have that problem.
    I am 75 and I don’t like it when I can’t remember at the but after a while I remember but then when I need to remember again I don’t. Can you help?

    Comment by Susan Beeck — October 23, 2020 @ 1:43 PM

  16. My mind obsesses over not being able to remember long term things. It urges me to research the thing until I find the answer. What is this disorder and can it be treated?

    Thank you,

    Ron Long

    Comment by Ron Long — October 23, 2020 @ 2:45 PM

  17. I am 77 years old and a long time ago, I was in an automobile accident and in the hospital for 4 months, I revived and no really bad side affects, ( had a good doctor) , I sometimes I loose memory but for little things like going into the kitchen and wondering what you went for – It does not take long for me to remember. I think I am doing well. I can take care of my 2 cats, I live alone and can gook meals, etc. My daughter comes but one a week and takes me to the store for what I need and we go to lunch. I am lucky and love god and pray! But sometimes I can’t remember names of people? What do you thin?.

    Comment by Patricia Garner — October 23, 2020 @ 4:24 PM

  18. I called your company in ATL about a year ago and was told that everything is private pay and I cannot get a brain scan without being in your program and the minimum cost would be about $4,000. I was so disappointed! I am educated and a therapist by trade. My mother had Alzheimer’s and passed away a few years ago. Is there some way I can get a brain scan and the results without this extreme expense? Thank you!

    Comment by Linda McCall — October 24, 2020 @ 3:22 AM

  19. I live in Montana…try to walk every day and am quite active. Am 71 years young and am experiencing forgetfulness and especially names that I just completely go blank and then can’t pull them up as I get nervous. Do you have any suggestions?
    REally enjoy your articles!

    Comment by Rebecca E Johnston — October 24, 2020 @ 4:52 AM

  20. Do you have any information on help for Frontal Lobe Dementia? I have a Loved one who has been diagnosed at age 59.

    Comment by Cheryl Wright — October 24, 2020 @ 6:37 AM

  21. I have to say I don’t trust the Amen clinics enough to spend the money on the brain scans. Are you implying that all other neurologists have bad research or are just sort of… working with blinders on? Why would they be opposed to the same scans you use? I’m sure they aren’t much cost difference than MRI’’s which are routinely paid for by insurance. It’s unaffordable for average people to pay out of pocket. Believe me, I would be willing to come in if it were less money. I’m 37 and struggling. I have processing issues… it makes day to day organization wry difficult. Im also starting to have memory problems and have also had multiple concussions over the years.

    Comment by Chris — October 24, 2020 @ 11:59 AM

  22. My wife tells me I have memory issues. I’m in a very stressful situation at the moment, having to leave my wife in France while I came back to renew my visa. I had an episode two days ago when I could not remember anything for two hours

    Comment by Albert Hastings — October 24, 2020 @ 10:41 PM

  23. Hello Chris, thank you for reaching out. Here is a helpful article on how a SPECT scan differs from other scans: https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/how-does-spect-differ-from-other-brain-scans/. We do work with our patients towards getting reimbursement where possible, we also offer financing options through Care Credit. For additional information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 25, 2020 @ 5:27 PM

  24. Hello Cheryl, thank you for reaching out. We do have information regarding Frontal Lobe Dementia, as well as other forms of memory problems and dementia: https://www.amenclinics.com/conditions/memory-problems-and-dementia/. We also offer a Memory Rescue Program (https://www.amenclinics.com/services/memory-rescue-program/) which is based on Dr. Amen’s book (https://brainmd.com/book-memory-rescue). For additional information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 25, 2020 @ 5:28 PM

  25. Hello Rebecca, thank you for reaching out. We do have information related to symptoms of memory loss on our website: https://www.amenclinics.com/conditions/memory-problems-and-dementia/. We also offer a Memory Rescue Program (https://www.amenclinics.com/services/memory-rescue-program/) which is based on Dr. Amen’s book (https://brainmd.com/book-memory-rescue). For additional information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 25, 2020 @ 5:29 PM

  26. Hello Linda, thank you for reaching out. We do work with our patients towards getting reimbursement where possible, we also offer financing options through Care Credit. Dr. Amen also wrote a book called Memory Rescue, which may be a great resource to you: https://brainmd.com/book-memory-rescue. For additional information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 25, 2020 @ 5:31 PM

  27. Hello Ron, thank you for reaching out. We do have information related to symptoms of memory loss on our website: https://www.amenclinics.com/conditions/memory-problems-and-dementia/. We also offer a Memory Rescue Program (https://www.amenclinics.com/services/memory-rescue-program/) which is based on Dr. Amen’s book (https://brainmd.com/book-memory-rescue). For additional information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 25, 2020 @ 5:32 PM

  28. Hello Carole, thank you for reaching out. We do have 8 clinic locations (https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/) and if you’re unable to travel to one of these locations, our Care Coordinators may be able to provide resources or referrals closer to you. Please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 25, 2020 @ 5:34 PM

  29. Hello David, thank you for reaching out. Dr. Amen wrote a book called Memory Rescue that may be a great resource for you: https://brainmd.com/book-memory-rescue.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 25, 2020 @ 5:35 PM

  30. Hello Ceidre, thank you for reaching out. Depending on where you’re at in your journey to better brain health, you may want to have a consultation with the physician you saw in New York. Virtual consultations are available with our Amen Clinics’ specialists. You can then determine the best next steps. For more information and scheduling, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 25, 2020 @ 5:37 PM

  31. Hello Gail, thank you for reaching out. We do have information related to symptoms of memory loss on our website: https://www.amenclinics.com/conditions/memory-problems-and-dementia/. We also offer a Memory Rescue Program (https://www.amenclinics.com/services/memory-rescue-program/) which is based on Dr. Amen’s book (https://brainmd.com/book-memory-rescue). For additional information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — October 25, 2020 @ 5:38 PM

  32. I have had 2 seizures that stopped my heart 10 years ago which had me get a pacemaker. I do not sleep the entire night and I suffer from stress and anxiety for many years.
    My neurologist had me take a blood test in June and it showed Homocysteine is increased by functional deficiency of Folate or vitamin B12.
    He had me buy a food type pill not called medicene. It was called CB12 & (something else) made by EBM Medical. I took it for 3 months and it did nothing to help my memory. My loss of memory is where I cannot remember words or naming things in my conversation. I remember all the songs from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. but not the group names except the beatles, and a couple of other groups. All my friends say don’t worry because the have the same thing. I also have Tenitis and feel that the noise is from my brain and i believe a lack of blood flowing there. Just thought I would let you know.

    Comment by Annette Leyland — October 30, 2020 @ 11:30 AM

  33. Was wondering if you are still planning to open a clinic in the Dallas, TX area and when that might be? Thanks!

    Comment by Linda Harris — November 4, 2020 @ 12:34 PM

  34. Hello Linda, thank you for reaching out. Yes, we are opening a clinic in Dallas, TX by the end of this year, 2020. Stay tuned for announcements to come! For information, please reach out to our Care Coordinators here: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — November 5, 2020 @ 10:13 AM

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