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As we get older we do seem to forget things more often – like where we left our keys, or someone’s name – and we seem to need lists for everything! People often ask, does this mean I am developing dementia?

It is true that the brain does change with age, but the changes are more subtle than people think. The changes include:

  • Shrinkage of brain cells (neurons)
  • Loss of the ability to rearrange connections between neurons (plasticity)
  • Damage by free radicals (molecules that react easily with other molecules, thereby damaging other cells in the body)
  • Certain areas in the brain are more vulnerable than others.
  • The areas most at risk are those involved with memory, learning and complex mental activities such as planning.

If you are concerned about your memory, these differences may guide you.

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