The memory test

November 26, 2008 10:06:25 AM PST
We can feel forgetful from time to time, but how do you know if a failing memory is a sign of something more serious? Sixty-nine-year-old Marvin Goldman was one of the participants in a free memory screening at the Jacobson Jewish Community Center.

Gerontologist Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein says it's something everyone over 65 should do once a year.

"Some studies show that by age 85 some of the fifty percent of the population has evidence of memory problems," he said.

Rob Lippet, 81, came for the screening. He's bothered by something that many older people have to put up with.

"I can't remember names, though many people tell me that this is one of the first things that you lose," he said.

His memory tests were fine. Forgetting names is fairly common with aging, but doing something like putting your wallet in the refrigerator rather than just forgetting where you put it may be a sign of a more serious problem such as Alzheimer's.

Memory problems don't always begin in the brain. There are physical causes as well.

Prescription medications can affect memory. Depression can, too. Thyroid problems which are undiagnosed may hamper memory function. All of these are easily treated.

Dr. Wolf-Klein makes the point that though there are no effective treatments for serious memory diseases like Alzheimer's. Knowing about it early through testing lets people get their affairs in order.

You can learn more from National Institutes of Mental Health on the web at

You can learn more about memory screenings at Jacobsen J.C.C. by calling 516-484-1545.

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