Memory

Is there really a blood test to diagnose concussion?

Eve Valera, PhD

Contributor

Can a blood test tell whether or not you have a concussion? It’s not quite that simple. There is a test that indicates the presence of substances released into the blood after a brain injury, but for now it is more useful for identifying situations when a CT scan is not necessary.

Is there a test for Alzheimer’s disease?

Wondering whether a blood test or brain scan can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease? If memory loss is a problem for you or a loved one, consider these points before discussing potential next steps with a doctor.

Want to travel back in time? Use episodic memory

When people refer to “memory,” they often mean episodic memory, a complex brain process that enables recall of details like names and route detours –– as well as long-ago moments.

Want a sharp mind, strong memory? Ramp up activities

Research shows that older people who are socially engaged and keep their minds active are more likely to remain mentally sharp. But what specific activities should people do? And does it matter if they start late in life or sooner?

Trouble reading? Try these workarounds

Trouble reading may stem from physical challenges, difficulty concentrating, traumatic brain injury, or mild cognitive impairment. After an evaluation, try these workaround strategies.

Trouble keeping information in mind? Could be sleep, mood — or age

Most people experience some degree of decreased memory as they get older, but memory performance is also affected by mood and sleep quality, and these are factors that can be controlled and improved.

Could medications contribute to dementia?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study found that people over 65 who were taking an anticholinergic medication (drugs that block the chemical messenger acetylcholine) were more likely to eventually be diagnosed with dementia, but these results don’t show that this class of drugs definitively causes dementia.

Memories: Learning, remembering, (not) forgetting

Who we are and how we define our lives is built on the accumulation of personal experiences. As we age, these memories start to fade. People with neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease are especially vulnerable.