5 2 discussion memory impairment

Memory loss or impairment can be difficult to deal with because it affects many aspects of life. Many factors and conditions can lead to memory loss, including strokes, head injuries, drug use, depression, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. Conduct a little research, and report on two different types of memory loss. Compare and contrast changes in the brain and memory that occur with each type of memory loss. After discussing specific types of memory loss, provide a few suggestions for improving memory based on what you learned about memory systems in this week’s readings.

In your responses to your peers, discuss the practicality of their suggested memory improvements in the real world and in different professional disciplines.

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.



The two types of memory loss that I researched this week are depression and dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s disease. The APA (2009) defines Alzheimer’s disease as a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by cortical atrophy, neuronal death, synapse loss, and accumulation of senile plagues and neurofibrillary tangles, causing dementia and a significant decline in functioning. The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is the formation of plaques and tangles in the brain that disrupt neuron function and communication (McBride & Cutting, 2019). Neuron functioning is disrupted by both plaques and tangles in Alzheimer’s patients, which eventually causes severe cell loss that in turn reduces brain mass (McBride & Cutting, 2019). The hippocampus is the first area of the brain to be affected by the progression of Alzheimer’s (McBride & Cutting, 2019). According to Moser, Kropff, and Moser (2008), the hippocampus and surrounding entorhinal cortex have been shown to be involved in making connections between sets of information.

According to the National Institute on Aging (2018), not all forgetfulness or memory problems are Alzheimer’s disease. There are other causes for memory problems, which can include aging, medical conditions, types of dementia, emotional issues and mild cognitive impairments (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2018). Depression is defined by the APA (2009) as a fluctuation in normal mood ranging from unhappiness and discontent to an extreme feeling of sadness, pessimism, and despondency. Often times, life changes (i.e., recent retirement, loss of a family member or friend, move to a retirement home) can cause individuals to feel sad, lonely, worried and even bored (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2018). Depression in older individuals can often be mistaken for dementia. However, Alzheimer’s disease can be seen with neuroimaging technology, whereas depression is difficult to see as it does not deteriorate brain mass.

According to McBride and Cutting (2019), there are ways to help improve memory even with elderly individuals. Aerobic exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, thus improving the memory of elderly individuals (Erickson et al., 2011). Regular exercise has also been shown to help to prevent depression and can improve an individual’s mood, thus improving memory (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2018). Memory training tasks (i.e., crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, and memory games) have shown to increase brain activity in areas related to an individual’s memory on tasks performed later (Belleville et al., 2011).


APA. (2009). APA college dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Belleville, S., Clement, F., Mellah, S., Gilbert, B., Fontaine, F., & Gauthier, S. (2011). Training-related brain plasticity in subjects at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Brain, 134, 1623-1634.

Erickson, K., Voss, M., Prakash, R., Basak, C., Szabo, A., Chaddock, L., . . . Kramer, A. (2011). Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(7), 3017-3022. doi:10.1073/pnas.1015950108

McBride, D., & Cutting, J. (2019). Cognitive psychology: Theory, process, and methodology (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Moser, E., Kropff, E., & Moser, M.-B. (2008). Place cells, grid cells, and the brain’s spatial representation system. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 31, 69-89.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2018). Do memory problems always mean Alzheimer’s Disease? Retrieved from NIH: National Institute on Aging: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/do-memory-problems-…


The brain is a very important but also very soft part of our body, it may not be the strongest muscle in the body but it can be a very strong muscle when we keep it challenged and constantly growing. As mentioned early it can be a very soft part of our body because the wrong hit taken and our lives are changed for forever. One such injury that can impact our brain and our memory is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). With a TBI the learning and memory come impacted and it “affects short-term memory more than long-term memory” (Hart and Sander, 2016). People with a TBI also have a hard time remembering to remember simple things like medical appointments and things that we take for granted. I have a adopted sister-in-law and an adopted brother-in-law that have TBI’s and if it wasn’t for the other family members, those two would be lost. The remembering to remember is a part of the prospective memory portion and “although TBI affects new memories more than old ones, people with TBI may have trouble retrieving the correct information” (Hart and Sander), I will definitely say that the adopted brother-in-law definitely fits into this category. Another thing that can affect memory is stroke.

A stroke can present problems with memory problems with visual (face shapes), verbal (information in regards to language), and informational (memory of learning a new skill). These are the most common memory problems associated with a stroke but a stroke can also affect thinking which would be vascular dementia. Some problems associated with a stroke can be; confusion or problems with short-term memory, wandering or getting lost in familiar places, and difficulty following instructions (American Heart Association, 2019). A stroke and a TBI both have an impact on the short-term memory and they both can affect following instructions, or being lost. With a TBI the short-term memory can be affected in the chunking section of the brain and with a stroke you have the retroactive interference because “…the new information replaces the old information…” (McBride and Cutting, 2019). The one big difference between a stroke and a TBI is that with a stroke the memory can be retrained.

It seems crazy that we can retrain our brains but with strokes we can by taking up new hobbies, and keep up with exercise. “The training can help improve alertness and attention and adapt to your loss of memory function…” (American Heart Association). Now it is hard to reprogram a brain without preforming some tasks and we can do this by using such tasks as recognition tasks or recall tasks. With stroke patients it can be like a visuospatial sketchpad where “it acts a type of dry-erase board for visual and spatial information that can be written on, stored for a brief time, erased, and rewritten on” (McBride and Cutting). This may sound crazy when working with a stroke patient but with their being an ability to recall information with a stroke patient we want to start with retention and recall memories and being able to ‘erase’ them and begin a slow rebuild is the best way to prevent an overload and having a set back. This rebuild process would be the consolidation part of rebuilding those memories because building the strength of these memories and keeping them stored.


Hart, T., & Sandler, A. (2016). Memory and Traumatic Brain Injury. Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center. Retrieved from https://msktc.org/tbi/factsheets/Memory-And-Traumatic-Brain-Injury.

McBride, D.M., & Cutting, J.C. (2019). Cognitive Psychology: Theory, Process, and Methodology, 2nd ed. Sage Inc. Thousand Oaks, C.A.

National Stroke Association. (2019). Memory Loss. American Heart Association. Retrieved from https://www.stroke.org/we-can-help/survivors/stroke-recovery/post-stroke-conditions/cognition/memory-loss/.

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