Loss of Memory

  How does memory work?

One of the most critical aspects of what the brain does, and one that can be distressing if it is not working well, is memory. It also is usually the first skill we notice that may not be functioning as well as before. There are several aspects to memory and each has its own characteristics. For example, when we remember what we ate for breakfast this morning, we employ “short-term” memory (STM). When we try and recall what we had for breakfast at that wonderful B&B a few years ago, we use “long-term” memory (LTM).

It is our short-term or “working” memory that usually gets us upset if it is not working to well. That’s because much of our daily functioning is dependent on recalling information for immediate use. Like getting our keys to leave the house or calling that person we met last night at the party. Short-term memory is stored differently from long-term memory and usually is more prone to any sort of interference that may break it down.
Retrieving information from short-term memory involves a number of actions. Sometimes information is retailed automatically and quickly, like grabbing a photograph from a shelf. At other times, the brain makes connections between bits of information, so that a chain is formed that eventually leads us to see the information we ‘remember’. These connections are like reminders or hints that the brain uses to get from one point to another, till it gets to the point of actually ‘remembering’ what is needed.