Who truly has a better memory: men or women?
He neglects to put the toilet seat down, fails to stop at the store on his way home and forgets your anniversary nearly every year. For generations, these offenses and others have made women crow about being the ones with the better memory.
But is it really true?
The study, published by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), looked at men and women ages 45-55 and assessed various aspects of memory function, including long-term and short-term memory, semantic processing, verbal intelligence and mental skills that have to do with getting things done.
In addition to comparing the memory skills of men and women, the study looked at the differences between pre- and post-menopausal women. Women in the study who were post-menopausal had lower rates of initial learning and information recall, linked to lowered estrogen levels.
While some forgetfulness and memory loss is normal with aging, experts caution against taking it too lightly.
“Brain fog and complaints of memory issues should be taken seriously,” Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director, said in a press release. “This study and other have shown that these complaints are associated with memory deficits.”
Regardless of your age or gender, there are things you can do to improve you memory.
“When it comes to improving and/or maintaining memory, there are several important ideas to keep in mind,” says Bryan Denure, an Advocate Medical Group licensed clinical counselor with Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “Your brain, like any other organ or system in the human body, needs to be properly maintained to function at its best.”
Denure offers the following tips:
- Get plenty of sleep. Poor or inadequate sleep can adversely impact memory and concentration.
- Just like other organs, the brain will function at its best with a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of physical exercise. Diets high in carbs and sugar can negatively impact memory, while foods with omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular exercise can improve brain function.
- Brain-stimulating games and puzzles, such as crosswords and Sudoku, show positive effects on improving and maintaining memory with age.
- Try new experiences or learn new skills. This can help the brain stay “flexible.”
- Use lists to help keep yourself organized, and avoid multitasking, which often doesn’t give the brain the time it needs to process and store new information.
- Try using association. Associate specific tasks or information with a specific word, acronym or set of letters.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.