Keep the Mind Sharp

Published Online: Monday, December 1, 2003

    Oftentimes older adults have memory trouble. Now a new memory technique may help them better remember recent events and information. The memory training approach involves slowly increasing the delay intervals during memory training. This technique can aid seniors in successfully recalling information across increasingly longer delays, according to results of a study published recently in Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

    A group of older adults, average age 73, were tested with this technique. After 7 days of training for ~45 minutes, the group, on average, did 14 times better on a memory task. For the study, participants were shown lists of words 1 at a time. Some of the words were repeated in the list at gradually increasing intervals. The participants were asked to remember words that already had appeared on the list.

    The goal of this memory technique is to strengthen memory. It is based on the theory that memory consists of 2 processes: an automatic process (familiarity) and consciously controlled process (recollection). The next step is to see whether the technique works outside the laboratory and whether it can help seniors? everyday memory function.

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