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You can't buy good health but you can buy good health information. Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School:

Worried about changes in your memory? It's worth a closer look, from the August 2014 Harvard Men's Health Watch

For many people, forgetfulness becomes more common with age. But even when memory is still within the normal range, slips that seem new or unusual may be early warning signs of future decline. This merits a closer look, not a panic attack, explains neuropsychologist Rebecca Amariglio in the August 2014 Harvard Men's Health Watch.

"We don't want to worry people that if they forget where their keys are they are on the path to Alzheimer's disease," says Amariglio, an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School, "But there is a growing appreciation we should not dismiss those concerns. It may be worth talking to a doctor and getting a baseline assessment."

Amariglio and her colleagues are exploring whether noticing and being concerned about changes in one's own memory could be used to identify people with cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment—sometimes called cognitive decline—is a catchall term that covers memory loss and worsening of basic thinking skills. It sometimes leads to dementia.

One potential warning sign that researchers have identified is finding it hard to follow a group conversation or the story in a TV show. Older adults who experience this are more likely to also show signs of cognitive impairment.

In contrast, doing things like losing your car keys but eventually remembering where they are or walking into a room and forgetting why you went there are more likely to be mostly harmless age-related forgetfulness.

A physician can do a quick cognitive check in the office or suggest more extensive testing to determine whether forgetfulness indicates a medical problem.

Read the full-length article: "Worried about your memory? Take action."

Also in this issue of the Harvard Men's Health Watch

  • Worried about your memory? Take action
  • Ask the doctor: Prostate cancer and multivitamins
  • Ask the doctor: Jogging and arthritis
  • Measuring blood pressure at home: Keep it simple
  • Protect yourself from skin cancer
  • Are you stuck on heartburn medications?
  • Do you need more vitamin D?
  • Red wine's hoped-for healthy ingredient fails a test
  • Antibiotics still prescribed too often for bronchitis
  • Spread of throat cancer virus to partners is uncommon

More Harvard Health News »


About Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Publications publishes four monthly newsletters--Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Men's Health Watch, and Harvard Heart Letter--as well as more than 50 special health reports and books drawing on the expertise of the 8,000 faculty physicians at Harvard Medical School and its world-famous affiliated hospitals.