Archive for September, 2011

Improving your memory is deceptively simple. Don’t forget the “One Minute Rule.” Anything given less than one minute of thought will fade from your memory. We have known this for years but as we get busy we ignore the truth that we knew when we were in school. We took notes at lectures and from reading and we reviewed them often. Notes allow us to think longer (the One Minute Rule) about the point we feel is important and they focus our attention. Additionally, taking notes allows us to review the important facts which again give more time to learn and later remember what’s important. In a world filled with massive and multiple sources of information we often ignore the fact that we learn most things well by spending time with the skill or information we want to remember. Human […]

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I recall where I was when I heard about the attacks of “9/11.” I was with a client who told me of the events and I recall my disbelief and confusion. I recall the look on her face. I recall what seemed like forever for the reality to actually set in. Finally, I recall my wife’s call and insistence that I cancel a talk that I had in the afternoon. 9/11 and other powerful events bring to mind vivid memories that feel as if they are formed instantly and in great detail. The explosion of the challenger, the OJ Simpson trial, and the assassination of President Kennedy are examples of these intensely felt memories. This type of memory was first described by Roger Brown and James Kulik in 1977 as “flashbulb” memory. These memories are stored and have the feeling […]

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Behavioral problems like aggression, agitation, and hallucinations are often treated with medications called “antipsychotics” or “neuroleptics.” Newer medications in this class include Risperdal, Zyprexa, Geodon, Seroquel, and Abilify. Older medications, including Thorazine, Haldol, and Melleril, are not widely used today. The benefits of these medications are modest at best. However, the list of adverse effects continues to grow. A recent study adds to the concerns with use of these medications to treat behavioral problems associated with dementia. Antipsychotic medications caused significant decline in remaining cognitive skills. There was a significant drop in neuropsychological test scores when compared to placebo after 12 weeks of treatment. It is unclear from the results whether the decline is permanent and would be reversed by cessation of the drugs. This adds another element to the growing concern over the use of antipsychotic medications to manage […]

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