Memory Disorders and Treatments
These include neurocognitive disorders, forgetting, and some of the defense mechanisms.
Repression and Suppression are likely to be mentioned here that actually belong to the defense mechanisms explained by Freud. These are not actually a disorder or a disturbance, but a reaction to a frustrating event that happened in someone’s life. Here that person consciously and unconsciously forgets about that unpleasant event.
The treatment plan suggested for such mechanisms is always to probe down into the unconscious. And this is possible by hypnotic therapy and psychoanalysis. The person’s unconscious, subconscious are explored through the techniques of these therapies and countered afterward.
Delirium is one of the neuro-cognitive disorders and basically depicts attention problems. Though its’ not a distinguishing memory disorder but one of the criteria specifies the deficit of memory according to DSM 5.
- A disturbance in attention (i.e., reduced ability to direct, focus, sustain, and shift attention) and awareness (reduced orientation to the environment).
- The disturbance develops over a short period of time (usually hours to a few days), represents a change from baseline attention and awareness, and tends to fluctuate in severity during the course of a day.
- An additional disturbance in cognition (e.g., memory deficit, disorientation, language, visuospatial ability, or perception).
- Retrograde amnesia: cannot recall events that occurred prior to brain trauma.
- Anterograde amnesia: cannot recall events that occur after brain trauma.
Evidence for neural consolidation process:
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): used for therapeutic relief of several psychological symptoms, a very common side-effect is retrograde amnesia.
- Seizure-inducing drugs (pentylenetetrazol): produced retrograde amnesia in animals.
- -thus, interference with normal neural processing shortly after an experience causes amnesia for this experience.
The pop case of H.M.
H.M.: sustained bilateral temporal lobe removal (lobectomy), -milestone case in the history of the neurobiology of learning and memory.
- -suffered no loss of intelligence (IQ).
- -suffered only mild retrograde amnesia.
- -suffered devastating anterograde amnesia.
Korsakoff’s Syndrome (a.k.a Wernicke-Korsakoff’s):
- unawareness of memory defect.
- memory problems often preceded by ataxia (difficulty to walk and keep posture, and muscle control of eye movements).
Specific brain areas involved in Korsakoff’ssyndrome:
- -draw connections between the hippocampus, mamillary body, dorsomedial thalamus, cingulate cortex, and back to the hippocampus.
- brain regions affected by thiamin deficiency intimately associated with the medial temporal lobe.-memory dysfunction of Korsakoff’spatients is likewise closely associated (anterograde amnesia for declarative information) with that seen in bilateral medial temporal lobectomies.
High doses of thiamin can improve motor ataxia and eye movement abnormalities.-if structural (loss of neurons in mamillary bodies and mediodorsal thalamus) brain damage is done, thiamin supplement will not reverse the anterograde memory deficit.
The criteria mention clear evidence of the decline in memory and learning and at least one other cognitive domain to be deficient.
Nothing has been found that can cure the disease.
- drugs are given to improve acetylcholine neurotransmitter functions:-give precursor –choline and lecithin; -give acetylcholine sterase inhibitors to reduce breakdown –physostigmine;-give agonist –drugs that mimic acetylcholine, especially at the muscarinic type 1 receptor or nicotinic agonists (work on nicotinic receptors).-all cholinergic manipulations have resulted in poor symptom relief
- drugs given to improve neurotrophic factors that promote neuronal survival, growth, or differentiation –nerve growth factor (NGF), a large protein that does not cross the blood-brain-barrier.
- recently, the use of a vaccine against Aβ42 has shown some promises in a mouse model of AD.-in the same mouse model, injections of small amounts of Aβ42 early during development leads to significantly reduced behavioral and brain signs of AD.
Forgetting gets a “bad press” that it may not deserve. People tend to view forgetting as a failure, weakness, or deficiency in cognitive processing. Although forgetting important information can be frustrating, some memory theorists argue that forgetting is actually adaptive. How so? Imagine how cluttered your memory would be if you never forgot anything.
How quickly we forget?
Ebbinghaus’s forgetting curve showed a precipitous drop in retention during the first few hours after the nonsense syllables were memorized. Thus, he concluded that most forgetting occurs very rapidly after learning something. That’s a depressing conclusion. What is the point of memorizing information if you’re going to forget it all right away? Fortunately, subsequent research showed that Ebbinghaus’s forgetting curve was unusually steep (Postman, 1985).
Studies of how well people recall their high school classmates suggest that forgetting curves for autobiographical information are even shallower (Bahrick, 2000).
Why we forget?
Interference: Interference theory proposes that people forget information because of competition from other material.
Retrieval Failure: People often remember things that they were unable to recall at an earlier time. This phenomenon may be obvious only during struggles with the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon, but it happens frequently. In fact, a great deal of forgetting may be due to breakdowns in the process of retrieval.
Motivated Forgetting: Many years ago, Sigmund Freud (1901) came up with an entirely different explanation for retrieval failures. The tendency to forget things one doesn’t want to think about is called motivated forgetting, or to use Freud’s terminology, repression.
Improving Everyday Memory
- Engage in Adequate Rehearsal
- Attention and concentration
- Association and pegging
- Reduce interference
- Organize information and deep processing
- Enrich Encoding with the following:-
Acrostics and Acronyms: Students memorizing the order of colors in the light spectrum often store the name “Roy G. Biv” to remember red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
Narrative Methods: make out a story with beginning middle and end to retain the content
Rhymes: Perhaps you also remember the number of days in each month with the old standby, “Thirty days hath September . . .” Rhyming something to remember it is an old and useful trick.
Link Method: The link method involves forming a mental image of items to be remembered in a way that links them together.
Method of Loci: Another visual mnemonic is the method of loci, which involves taking an imaginary walk along a familiar path where images of items to be remembered are associated with certain locations.
- Psychology: Themes and Variations, Eighth Edition by Wayne Weiten
- Cognitive Psychology, In and Out of the Laboratory Fourth Edition by Kathleen M. Galotti
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