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How to Deal With an Aging Brain?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the swap-in-hans-delbrueck's dept.

Education 684

An anonymous reader writes "I'm sure this is something all older Slashdotters are aware of: as I get older my once-sharp brain is, well, getting worse. In particular, I'm not able to remember things as well as I once did. As a geek my capacity in this area was always what defined me as a geek. Nowadays things seem to go in OK, but then leak out. A few weeks later I've mostly forgotten. So, I ask Slashdot: how do you cope with your mind getting older? What's your trick? Fish-oil? Brain Training on the DS? Exercise? Or just trying harder to remember things?"

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Or.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861085)

Simply take yourself out of situations where it matters ;p

Seriously though.. where I work a lot of the "older guy's" tend to migrate into roles where they don't need to keep mountains of info bouncing around their head all the time. Roles where people come to them for guidance and advice.. but don't expect them to know the ins and outs of the systems. Let the young guys be the walking encyclopedias while you chill-ax into retirement.

Re:Or.. (4, Insightful)

weave (48069) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861253)

Yeah, that's called management -- and it makes things worse if you really care. You get out of doing the fun stuff day to day and spend it all in meetings and dealing with personnel issues. It quickly speeds up the brain rot. :-(

Re:Or.. (0, Offtopic)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861457)

plus you now have someone who is inflexible and deeply entrenched in their ways managing (and suppressing the creativity of) younger and more capable individuals--who are the ones with the fresh new ideas.

this is also the reason why government is dominated by conservative/reactionary attitudes while the public is demanding reform. being old and senile is almost a requirement for high-level government positions, which guarantees that public policy is always a step behind the times, and that politicians are utterly detached from contemporary science & technology.

i mean, there is certainly value to the experience that comes with age, but having an organization that is managed/dominated entirely by middle-aged individuals who are set in their ways can stifle innovation and cause the organization to be mismanaged.

Maybe improve your diet and exercise? (5, Insightful)

dzelenka (630044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861305)

I bet this suggestion gets ignored completely! This IS Slashdot after all!

I use gun. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861315)

I keep a gun at work. My manager is aware of the weapon.

At the last performance evaluation, he told me that the quality of my work was borderline due to the fact that I simply could not remember things. We worked out a plan that if I "qualify" for termination in the next layoff, then I will simply pull out the gun and blow my brains out.

If I cannot survive in the competitive American market place, then I should not live. Most Americans support the concept that a nation is a free-market place. If you cannot compete, then you deserve to die. Hence, America does not have national health insurance: losers should die.

Since I choose to live in America, I (and my manager) accept the rules of the free market.

Growing up, not older. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861333)

If it really matters, people can remember even as they age. What happens though, is that people start to figure out what really matters. A person's ability to do menial work for others is a dying exponential function of their age.

Re:Growing up, not older. (1)

Odder (1288958) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861363)

The truely wise learn Unix at a young age. When they are older, they can replace their younger peers with small shell scripts.

Application - do not tempt older, apparently slower, peers to show you their crib sheets. Just watch and learn as the job gets done.

well..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861089)

Drink more and accept the inevitable.

re Pay attention (3, Insightful)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861097)

Stop using M$ crap, it has been shown to cause brain rot

Not knowing your age, i can't say if it is the onset of advanced age. I'm 47, I find that
and I don't pay attention, at least not as much as I used to, and therefore things are
harder to remember.

I get distracted because I think that I know where the conversation, lecture or whatever is
going and then I find out it took a different turn somewhere and I lost it.

Once I pay attention, I find that the old grey matter is still serviceable.

perspective (1)

burne (686114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861147)

You're 47, I'm 42, and timothy might be 21.

Yeah, chilling thought, I know.

Re:perspective (4, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861293)

I'm 59. I can still remember things just as well as I did when I was half my age. Sometimes. Sometimes, I can't remember things I need, but I can still remember things I no longer have any use for, if I ever did. That's the way memory works. A few weeks ago, Jerry Pournelle [jerrypournelle.com] talked about how his memory is working. (Scroll up, slightly, into the previous day.) Not as good in some ways as it had been, but still good enough for every day use.

Don't worry, though, there's hope for us all yet. Just a few days ago, my mother (88) told me how she'd met General Patton while she was taking a walk in April '45, a story I'd never heard before.

Re:perspective (1)

uberjack (1311219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861435)

One of the problems I have is remembering shit I wish I would forget. If I hear a jingle or a song, no matter how obnoxious, it sticks in my head. I joined Bally's for a while a couple of years back, and ended up memorizing a frightening number of Backstreet Boys, N-Sync and Britney Spears songs. I swear I still know the lyrics to 'Crazy'. Someone, please put me out of my misery.

Re:perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861437)

Just a few days ago, my mother (88) told me how she'd met General Patton while she was taking a walk in April '45, a story I'd never heard before.

Sorry to break it to you: your mom is senile.

Re:re Pay attention (3, Funny)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861195)

Stop using M$ crap ... I'm 47

:-) [penny-arcade.com]

Re:re Pay attention (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861335)

Stop using M$ crap, it has been shown to cause brain rot

Congratulations on bringing Microsoft into a completely unrelated story.

Re:re Pay attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861443)

Stop using M$ crap, it has been shown to cause brain rot

Congratulations on bringing Microsoft into a completely unrelated story.

Unrelated or not it worked.

re Pay attention (Score:4, Insightful)

You just have to know how to game the moderators (they're the guys in the PA comic link above [slashdot.org] ).

Re:re Pay attention (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861421)

Stop using M$ crap, it has been shown to cause brain rot

On an unrelated note, offtopic, obsessive, and exaggerated Microsoft bashing, as well as spelling MS as M$, happens to be a surefire sign of brain rot. Are you the one called Twitter, whom I have read so much about?

Re:re Pay attention (1)

luaplevap (970861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861449)

I'm 17 and also space out during conversations/lectures that I think I can forsee, but mostly just because some of them are awfully boring.

I feel my mind going....... (5, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861113)

I think I'll take over the spaceship and kill all the astronauts.

Study Habits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861115)

Better study habits? This is how most people live their whole lives.

Newer Version Available (4, Funny)

cob666 (656740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861119)

Isn't there a firmware upgrade that fixes this yet?

Re:Newer Version Available (5, Funny)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861221)

No, when you get older it is called "software" instead of firmware.

Re:Newer Version Available (1)

Skatox (1109939) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861387)

No, the support has been discontinued years ago.

Testosterone (5, Informative)

Sybert42 (1309493) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861121)

I had an elective castration, and am on testosterone replacement after I found myself not remembering as well as I did before. Really helped in that area. Check your levels to see if they warrant some replacement.

First thing, Ouch... (3, Interesting)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861161)

Secondly, I wonder if this testosterone effect is the same / similar in women. (I'm pretty sharp, but I'm also suffering from excessive testosterone... well, for a chick anyway.)

Re:First thing, Ouch... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861325)

you must be one horny hairy sports luv'n chick.

Re:First thing, Ouch... (1)

ROMRIX (912502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861405)

Secondly, I wonder if this testosterone effect is the same / similar in women. (I'm pretty sharp, but I'm also suffering from excessive testosterone... well, for a chick anyway.)

On first read I read it that he had had himself castrated to improve his memory due to the "levels" of his testes (hung too high/low perhaps?) and is subsequently taking the testosterone due to the castration for other reasons. (That is more than I am willing to sacrifice for a good memory!)

I hope I read him right the second time and he's taking testosterone supplements that help improve his memory after being castrated.
That being the case your elevated levels (of testosterone) may be the key to your being a "pretty sharp" geek in the first place.
(I base my assumption of your being a geek on your presence here on this Slashdot forum.) ;)

Re:First thing, Ouch... (1)

Sybert42 (1309493) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861503)

I never looked at my levels before the operation, but they were quite low after (as expected). I really don't think increased testosterone as an intact young person will improve your mental ability. Maybe I was geeky enough to somewhat deal with the low testosterone?

Re:Testosterone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861187)

Get off my internets. Now.

Re:Testosterone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861231)

So did you have this done because of testicular cancer, or did you just not like like your testicles anymore?

Re:Testosterone (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861413)

No, he is just a Eunuchs user, like many of us.

Re:Testosterone (5, Funny)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861455)

Ye flipping gods! I've never been so glad GNU is Not Unix.

Re:Testosterone (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861239)

> Really helped in that area.
And still, you forgot to post anonymously.

Elective castration?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861427)

Whoa, why did you do that?

Help me out here... (4, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861127)

Why did I click "Read More" again? Back I go, retrace the steps...

Your choices are not complete (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861131)

Choose 'all of the above' and anything else that keeps your mind active. Brain health is a topic with a huge volume of data on the Internet. Recent additions to the pile of info is that cannabis (THC) may help retard onset of senility. There are many things you can do. Your wetware is chemically based, and so any particular concoction that works wonders for anyone else many not work at all for you. The goal would be to match physical traits of yourself to those that benefit most from various remedies. If you are overweight, look for brain health options that seem to work for diabetics etc.

That's what I'm doing. Find best matches and experiment. So far so good. I think.

Re:Your choices are not complete (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861153)

At the same time cannabis worsens memory (that's already been proved). So it's your choice :)

Re:Your choices are not complete (3, Interesting)

spaceman375 (780812) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861241)

What's been proved is that people who smoke pot tend to drink alcohol too. Alcohol kills memory MUCH faster and more extensively than pot does.
Just sayin.' Watch your sources and prejudices.

Re:Your choices are not complete (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861295)

I wonder where all my money went.

Re:Your choices are not complete (1)

kermit1221 (75994) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861173)

...cannabis (THC) may help retard onset of senility.

Been telling people that for years...

Best way to slow down the aging process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861133)

The closer you can get your acceleration to c, the better.

Re:Best way to slow down the aging process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861299)

c is a speed, not an acceleration, and doing so would only slow it down relative to other people (who it'd now be rather difficult to interact with anyway); it'd still go by just as fast for you.

You can turn in your geek card on the way out.

Brain II: Brain Harder (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861151)

Seriously, I've got nothing. I'm 27 and I think my brain is already going ;-)

Piracetam & Other Nootropics (5, Interesting)

slifox (605302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861155)

I recommend Piracetam: the first Nootropic ("smart drug").

It is extremely safe, and is widely used in Europe to help reverse the effects of aging and to help against the deterioration of memory, among other things (note: I am not a doctor).

There are numerous forums and communities on nootropics, both for anti-aging and productivity-boosting needs. However, make sure you take the advice from those places with the appropriately-sized grain of salt, and always double-check everything with a proper medical resource (i.e. peer-reviewed studies).

I won't get into the details here, because I already did that in an older post (related to stimulants, but it is nonetheless relevant here too). Yes, I guess this qualifies as karma whoring ;)

My previous post on Piracetam: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=562684&cid=23523554 [slashdot.org]

Wikipedia on Piracetam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracetam [wikipedia.org]

Erowid on Nootropics: http://www.erowid.org/smarts/ [erowid.org]

Re:Piracetam & Other Nootropics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861361)

why is this flamebait ?

The Racetam Nootropics (4, Informative)

EmotionToilet (1083453) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861495)

Actually, there is an entire class of racetams that can be used and each of them act a little different. Piracetam is considered the weakest of them all, and Pramiracetam is considered the strongest. I use Aniracetam and find that it helps quite a bit. When you stack them (Piracetam + Aniracetam) they work synergistically and you get an even stronger effect. Because they tend to use up your brains acetylcholine faster, people usually have to take a choline supplement with them a few times a week. The best form that I've found is alpha-GPC. It is the most bioavailable of choline supplements. The best part about these is that there are no side effects, even at high doses. Wiki - Racetam Class [wikipedia.org]

Drink more... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861165)

10: Eat, Drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!

20: Heh, an aging brain implies you are still alive.

30: goto 10

Re:Drink more... (2, Funny)

pablomme (1270790) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861247)

10: do
20: Eat, Drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!
30: Heh, an aging brain implies you are still alive.
40: enddo

Sheesh.. some people!

Re:Drink more... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861329)

Back in the day, a simple GOTO was ok.

Get off'a my lawn!

Re:Drink more... (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861367)

Eat, Drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!

Frisco-style: "Eat, Drink, and be Mary..."
     

samer here... (1)

harley3k (1109381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861169)

I've had this same issue over the last few years. I wondered if it was the ease with which I can "look things up" thus never having to commit anything to memory or recall it later, when I could just google it. I recall needing to memorize command line switches for novell certification tests years ago. Nowadays the only switch I can remember is "/?" because that's all I need.

my method: (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861171)

I kept right on going, full pelt, in what I loved doing. Until, like a lightbulb filament, I went TING! and burned out. Now I'm professionally retired, and am taking a year or five out of the workforce to get what's left of my head together. Sure, I've got hobbies, but who's gonna pay me to custom-build bicycles to my own designs?

Re:my method: (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861189)

A motorcycle shop prehaps? :)

Re:my method: (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861225)

not much call for it around here. Nobody's prepared to fork over the dough for what I do to bikes, which in themselves come off a bit special. My current ride is a lowrider with 6 foot wheelbase, a 7-speed box, 0.8BHP electric direct-drive assist, 2.1 sound system and satnav, tacho and top end of nearly 70mph, finished in black and chrome. LOTS of chrome. Who's gonna hand me two large for it? Didn't think so.

By working it (1)

CppDeveloper (829095) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861181)

Memory training software. Supposedly backed by some research that optimizes the time spent using the software by testing facts at optimal times instead of excessive repetitions.

http://www.supermemo.com/ [supermemo.com]

Re:By working it (1)

CppDeveloper (829095) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861217)

It has not been updated for a while and there are older free versions available.

Supplements (4, Informative)

Midnight Ryder (116189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861183)

One of my solutions to the problem is a good set of vitamins. I tend to shy away from stuff like Centrum, and use multi-vitamin packs with a little more "kick" to them (and are a heck of a lot more soluable in the digestive system), and B12 sublingual drops.

If I have to ask myself the question "how long was it since I took my vitamins?" then the answer is probably about three days - that's how long it take for them to wear off on me.

As with a lot of processes in our bodies, good nutritian helps the brain considerably. Eat right, exersize, and take a good multi vitamin, and you'll probably see a lot of the memory issues go away. It works for me anyway - as with any random commenter on /., YMMV :-)

Re:Supplements (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861223)

Oh dear. You're a good little consumer, aren't you?

Either your diet is *terrible*, or you're taking pills you DO NOT need. Don't believe me? Do some minimal research.

You've a victim of marketing, nothing more. Sorry buddy.

Do you drink a lot of Redbull too, thinking it really makes you more alert?

Re:Supplements (5, Interesting)

nixman99 (518480) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861451)

Either your diet is *terrible*, or you're taking pills you DO NOT need. Don't believe me? Do some minimal research.

I suggest you do some minimal research on vitamin absorption and aging. (hint - it doesn't get better). You are correct that most under 30's don't need vitamins, but by the time you hit 40, B12, C, and D aren't absorbed as well. For mental functioning, B12 is the big one. You can Google "vitamin absorption aging" and your favorite vitamin, or read a few of these:
B12 [oregonstate.edu]
B12 [nytimes.com]
C [oregonstate.edu]
D [nih.gov]

Re:Supplements (3, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861273)

You're spalling is a cleer endorshment of your opinonion.

I learned an amazing technique... (3, Funny)

shellster_dude (1261444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861185)

It is guaranteed to help you gain a photographic memory. You'll never forget anything again! The secret to this amazing breakthrough is...Dammit, I can't remember.

I have the perfect solution ... (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861191)

...Wait, what's the question again?

Learn new things (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861193)

Learn new things. That's how you "exercise" your brain. Things that are tough and cause "brain pain" are generally best for you.

Use it or lose it. No magic pills will help. Same for body, as for mind.

Re:Learn new things (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861489)

Learn new things. That's how you "exercise" your brain. Things that are tough and cause "brain pain" are generally best for you.

Use it or lose it. No magic pills will help. Same for body, as for mind.

Absolutely! I'd add:

  1. Read books. Exercise for the brain, (visualization, following the plot) as opposed to passively watching TV
  2. Do crossword puzzles, sudoku, whatever else makes you "figure things out". Computer games that exercise your mind (eg: sim city) are a lot better than shot-em-ups
  3. Play board games with others - gets you to interact with others, as opposed to being a "loner" - and this exercises other parts of the brain. Trivial pursuit, cranium, pictionary, risk, monopoly, etc.
  4. Exercise your curiosity. Try to figure out "why" something is the way it is, or :how" something does what it does, without just "looking it up on the innertubss". Sharpen your powers of observation.
  5. Lead a healthy lifestyle. Walk a few klicks every day outdoors, rain or shine, sleet or hail (in other words, get a dog that has to be walked). Don't smoke, don't drink to excess but don't be a teetotaler either (moderate alcohol use does NOT kill brain cells, contrary to the old story about "every drink costs you 100,000 brain cells". NO hang-over, no damage, and the other health benefits are worth it).

Do this for 40 years, and you'll be just as sharp at 50 as you were at 20. In other words, if you didn't get into the habit of doing this as a kid, you're probably fscked.

Who needs to remember? (2, Interesting)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861199)

I never found having nearly photographic memory to be particularly necessary. I never saw the point of memorizing a lot of junk in school; I know how to read, I own the book, nobody could ever give me a single sane reason why it was worth spending days memorizing things for an exam. We all know it's gone again a few days later, but the book is still there.

I find the same applies to life in general. The important part is to be able to find solutions, and understand them when you do, not being able to recite every possible thing from memory.

If you remember "everything" without any effort, great! I don't. But, luckily, there doesn't seem to be much of a need.

Replace memorization with wisdom and intelligence (5, Interesting)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861201)

Can't say more than that. I've seen many young hotshots that can run rings around me as day to day sysadmins. What I've became good at, as a sysadmin, is fixing something once and then automating the fix. I forget pretty quickly how I fixed the problem before, but I can always read the comments in the script I wrote to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Re:Replace memorization with wisdom and intelligen (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861265)

just like riding a bike. once you learn, you never forget.

Ow, my arse!

Fish oil is the trick (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861227)

Just rub it into the old noggin, and I'm sharp as a whistle in spring.

Brain Trust Program (1)

francisstp (1137345) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861233)

You should check Dr McCleary's book [drmccleary.com] . Good advice from a scientific who actually explains how he reached his conclusions.

let the computer remember stuff (5, Insightful)

Punto (100573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861235)

The notion that memory == intelligence is just wrong. Just get over it, and let a computer do all the memory for you. Use your brain for what it's uniquely qualified to do.

Brain Workshop (5, Informative)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861237)

This recent Slashdot thread [slashdot.org] (and the accomplishing article [timesonline.co.uk] ) discussed the effectiveness of brain training games.

In that thread, I pointed to Brain Workshop [sourceforge.net] , an open source version of the game used in this [pnas.org] study by Susanne Jaeggi, a psychologist at the University of Michigan. The study deals with improving "fluid intelligence" - the part of your mind that deals directly with the raw newness of experience or, as defined by Jaeggi, "the ability to reason and to solve new problems independently of previously acquired knowledge."

Others pointed out there's also a Javascipt version [dual-n-back.com] that's much more light-weight.

Other way around for me... (5, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861249)

I use to be very anal about remembering every detail. As I've gotten older I'm less concerned with this. I use technology (Outlook calendar/tasks, smartphone, Google Calendar for personal) to remember less and remind me when needed. I only concern myself with concepts and only sweat the details when it comes to actually doing the job.

I feel far less stressed out than I did when I'd try to remember every little ol' thing simply because I thought I needed to be a pedantic nerd. As a bonus I'm realizing there is more to living contently and I feel I have more time to spend on other things.

On top of it all I also make sure to leave the damn things at home when I'm going to do something and don't want distractions. Work can pay me 24/7 if they want me to be available 24/7. Otherwise when I'm not at the office I don't really care.

I do still take the time to know the important things: Birthdays, anniversaries, etc..

aging brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861251)

Any slashdotter worth his/her bits should be a supporter of PBS. They have a couple of 'lectures' (pledge drive shows) about aging bodies and aging brains and how to live longer with healthy brains. While all of them sound like old wives tales, some of the suggestions on there may work for some. They do a good job of convincing you to eat and drink healthy (purple veggies, red wine etc) by showing you MRI pictures of 'bad brains' and 'good brains'.

diet and exercise, go light on alcohol (1)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861257)

I am in my mid-fifties, so I am in the same situation. The big difference that I notice in my work is the start-up time when switching programming languages and development tools: whenever I switch between Ruby, Common Lisp, and Java it takes about 5 minutes to click in to whatever new set of tools that I am using. After a half day I get even more tuned in.

So, I used to switch around using development tools and now I try to work in much longer time blocks before switching development contexts.

I think that exercise a few times a day really helps. I find that even 15 minute walks help concentration and getting into nature really helps (I live a block from a national forest land trailhead, and this picture was taken about 8 miles from where I live: http://www.markwatson.com/pictures/Mark5.jpg [markwatson.com] -- try not to get jealous).

For Omega-3, organic cold-pressed flax oil is both tasty and offers a lot of the benefits of fish oil. Lots of organic fruits and vegetables helps, at least in a good "placebo" way :-)

Lastly, as long as I am tossing out opinions not backed by any real evidence, I would say that a happy attitude helps concentration and work. As Joseph Campbell said "follow your bliss" and do what makes you happy. I have always had a knack for really enjoying whatever I am working on, and that seems to help.

-Mark

What works for me at the ripe old age of 27 (2, Informative)

LordRPI (583454) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861271)

Lay off the alcohol and get more exercise. You'll notice a great change in about 2-3 days (of not drinking, exercise takes a little longer to kick in)

I'm 47 (5, Funny)

acvh (120205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861279)

and I've started making efforts to use external memory as much as possible: calendars, phonebooks, todo lists. All the things I didn't need 10 years ago.

i've been told that a good diet and exercise can help, but it's not THAT bad yet.

i forget people's names right after they introduce themselves. i lose my car keys every morning.

my daughter (8) is taking advantage of this; "daddy, remember you told me you'd take me to a movie." shit, maybe I did.

Crossword puzzles are the key (2, Informative)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861281)

At least that what I read somewhere (can't remember where though ;-)

In terms of dealing with a failing memory, my solution is to write a lot of stuff down. I carry a pocket PC with all my notes in it -- very helpful.

25 year old girlfriend (2, Funny)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861297)

I have to remember all kinds of shit now so the wife doesn't find out. I figure my memorization capacity has quadrupled since...er....what were we talking about again?

exercises (1)

ffflala (793437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861301)

Working on your power of concentration can help your memory and recall.

There are some helpful exercises described in the book Concentration by Ernest Wood (originally published in 1949). http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1443076&referer=brief_results [worldcat.org]

Once you try a few of these, it's easy to incorporate them in your daily life.

For example, next time you find yourself in a long, rambling conversation that jumps from topic to topic, try to trace the conversation backwards to the beginning topic with your conversation partner.

Another helpful practice is, when you're faced with something you want to remember, try to remember as many contextual details about it as you can: where you are, who you're with, what the weather is like, what you're wearing, what it smells like, what background noises there are, etc. If you notice these things, you have a better chance at building the kinds of associations that help build strong memories.

Try Memory Training (3, Insightful)

cervo (626632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861303)

Seriously there are a ton of books out there on memory training and it works. Back in college I read quite a few of them and tried out some of the mnemonic techniques and they worked wonders, I can still recall some of the nonsense lists almost 10 years later. Ultimately to get really good requires a lot of time an effort which I was not willing to put into it.

Some Books
  • Your Memory. How it works and how to improve it. -- Kenneth L Higbee -- One of the best books available on how the memory works as well as the mnemonic techniques
  • The Memory Book -- Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas -- pretty good book with a bunch of different techniques
  • Master Your Memory with Dr. Amazing: How not to Forget -- M Teitelbaum -- great book with many techniques not discussed in typical intro books on memory techniques

But as far as forgetting stuff, I noticed that I was forgetting left and right when I turned 23. The difference is that instead of just focusing on college or something else, I had a lot of shit going on in my life and was constantly distracted and that hurt my memory. Now it is even worse. I think as you get older and you have more of a life, you just are more distracted and a lot of stuff you just won't pay as much attention to to remember as much. I'll bet if you throw in kids forget it....

Go the ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861317)

Open Source way - your brain is proprietary and thats why you are having all these problems. Trade your brain with a Gnu...

Just Go With It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861323)

You're wasting what little time you have left on this earth by spending dwindling energy and resources on an ill-fated attempt to stay young. Keeping the right attitude is also a lie and a waste. You are traveling along a number line, each whole number has it's own set of characteristics. Your range is 8.

What do I look like, a doctor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861339)

Get off my lawn!

Brain exercize (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25861345)

I too have found my brain to be less sharp than it
used to be. I believe in the wisdom of 'use it or lose it'. I have been a computer programmer for many years and write freeware programs. I am always thinking of some new fangled modificaton that I can add to my existing programs. I just put one out a few minutes ago. Although I know a great deal about writing programs and how the Windows system works, I believe that just the repetitive programming is helping to develope new synapses. I also eat a cup of blue berries every day which is supposed to help in the development of the brain.

Don't sweat it (2, Informative)

spaceman375 (780812) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861349)

A major contributer to memory loss is the stress of worrying about it. Expect it to work when needed, and it's more likely to do so.
That being said, do a crossword puzzle every day. Take DHA (from an algal source NOT fish oil). Eat brewer's yeast; it has every B vitamin known, plus lots of DNA and RNA. Eat eggs (choline), and beets (they provide a chemical group that the rest of your body will use and leave the choline for making acetylcholine.)
Exercise your brain - it really does respond just like muscle tissue does; it will grow and become more vigorous.
Don't take large doses of B vitamins, just take some. Your food will provide a variable amount on top of the minimum, and that variation will enhance your brain's use of what's available.
Most of all; if you expect some function to fail, you will stop using it so much, it will atrophy from lack of use, and you'll have a self-fulfilling prophesy. Just as you expect to get better at what you do with practice, expect your body's cells to get better at what they do with practice. They will, if you let them.

It's never one thing (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861353)

The good news is that you are not alone. This is happening to everyone over 25 to one degree or another.

My first suggestion is to not separate mind from body. Aerobic and weight exercise can help your brain as much as puzzles and memory exercises.

Second, supplements - within reason. You may not want to take as many daily pills as Ray Kurzweil but I would recommend reading his book Fantasic Voyage. [amazon.com]

Third, so-called smart drugs. Someone already mentioned Piracetam but I would suggest pramiracetam though it is more expensive. Also look into vinpocetine. And for general alertness there is adrafinil and modafinil (not sure if the latter is legal in the US yet).

Ginko + Ginseng + Fish Oil + Exercise... (1)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861381)

Mayo Clinic's website is claiming that clinical studies have shown that Ginko Biloba increases memory (by supplying more blood to the brain) esp. when taken with Ginseng.

Fish oil is good for the brain too (but watch out for heavy metals) and of course exercise is good for your general health. 45min of cycling 3 times a week goes a long way.

Easy (2, Insightful)

Fantasio (800086) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861383)

Get a larger Hard Drive !

Learn it, then write it down (2, Insightful)

Caboosian (1096069) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861401)

I'm fairly young, but this seems like an almost obvious answer to me (yay naivety!). For almost any situation, whether it be a conversation with a coworker, an article about the latest video card, or a night class, writing it down should help a lot. Not only do you have your notes as something to refer to should you forget, you also gain the added benefit of actually writing down what you learned.

Remember high school? If I didn't take notes on a lesson, I was guaranteed to do worse on a test. The same applies even as you get older - writing stuff down, even if the notes are minimal, should help with your memory problem significantly.

Obviously, YMMV, but even if it feels too nerdy for a self-described geek, I would highly recommend carrying a small notebook around just to take notes in. Give it a shot, you might be surprised at how well you begin to remember things.

You will hate this answer... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861403)

...and you aren't likely to follow it. I know I am having similar symptoms and am not following my own advice very well.

The fact is, the body changes ...blah blah blah... you know where it's going. But with those changes, you also have different nutritional needs. What you need is "Science Diet" for older dogs. Eat a LOT less meat and a lot less starches. That doesn't leave a whole lot in the way of your favorite foods, but that is life. When I eat a lot of meat (and my god I love BBQ... especially pork ribs and pulled pork!) my brain goes to nearly useless. Eating starches makes me predictably sleepy and terribly less aware. I know these things all too well, but it is TOUGH changing diet! Social matter make it difficult... even convenience makes it difficult. But when I do take lunch at Souper-Salad instead of Burger-thing, I feel and think one hell of a lot better and the brain comes right back into swing.

One thing that helps significantly, I find, are those vitamin-based energy drinks. Stay clear of those youth-targetted energy drinks -- they will kill your brain FAST.

Written vs. Oral Societies. (2, Interesting)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861409)

For what it's worth... I'm in my mid 40's and have found two things of use.

1. When I was an undergrad I had a class on African Traditional Religions, the prof. was Kenyan. He used to actively speak out against using notebooks in class. He insisted that his education was better, it was entirely an oral based schooling as was his home life. After this had come up enough times in his class as well as my anthropology classes I thought I'd give it a go. I already had a great memory and often found notebooks and their accouterments a pain in the ass. One day I just stopped using any kind of notes; instead I paid attention to everything I felt I needed to learn. At night, I'd replay my day before I went to sleep. My GPA went up, in one semester from a 3.3 - a 3.9 and stayed there until I graduated.

2. I find, the older I get the less I care about much of the inane crap that gets tossed at me. (apologies to /.) I do think we're inundated increasingly more each day (see goole article just a few down) and I'm tired of it. So I do, actively, ignore a lot of shit. I find that helps me stay focused on what I value and what I want from my life.

Between work and home I have 14 unique passwords and change them every 30-60 days. I don't use a personal phone book either. I'd rather keep this stuff in my head instead of writing it down. I still believe that maintaining an active oral/mnemonic storyline of my life will keep it active instead of seeing it wane so dramatically in my later years.

I've seen this hold true for many friends who are in the theater. I've seen many 60+ yr/olds grab a script and be off book in 24 hrs. Relying on devices, of any kind, weakens the mind.

Your Brain is another organ (1)

heironymous (197988) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861447)

Don't forget to take care of your physical health. Excercise! Avoid bad foods, play, try to be fit. You wouldn't expect your legs to carry you very far if you didn't take care of yourself, and so it goes with your brain.

I'm in my 40s and have recently lost 30 pounds. My mind functions better lately than it did ten years ago. Or at least, it's malfunctioning in a way that makes me think so.

My solution (1)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861453)

I was/am in the same boat as you. I noticed a huge drop in memory and concentration ability about 5 years ago. Like you I set off on a journey to find a solution, and what I found was

What were we talking about?

Oh yeah, I never found anything that helped.

Excersice and Learn something new (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861463)

Being in my mid-forties the best things that I found to fight off decline in mental acuity is exercising, could be running or lifting weights, seems to help a great deal, might even start up tae-kwon-doe. Also go out and learn something new, try learning a new language or whatever you've had an interest in and will get the brain working as it did in youth.

It's Google that causes it ... (4, Interesting)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861473)

Seriously, not having to remember things while you are sitting in front of your PC because you can always google for it is very bad for your memory ...

Answers Require Double Blind Proof (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861477)

Home remedies, hot "stuff", xyz "vitamins", doctor "recommended" is little more than what was called "snake oil" when I was young. Quite a few studies showing harm from vitamins in people have popped up recently.

Hence, I wouldn't "recommend" anything that can't or hasn't been proven in the self medication arena.

On that thought, there are easily a dozen common things that are known to cause brain rot. You can name them, and most could be self-avoided.

Surveys have shown that around 50% of hospital admissions are due to self-imposed conditions as a way of putting that.

What is left to help? Good food, good company, stimulating avocation & good exercise, which may be most important of all. Elderly people who don't move much deteriorate far more quickly than those that do physical tasks and/or exercise each day.

sleep (1)

diegog (98539) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861481)

I think that besides eating well, exercising daily moderately and training your brain, one important thing for brain health is to sleep well.

But I'm no doctor, if you feel you have a problem, go and see one.

Red, Red Wine (1, Informative)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861487)

I just read a PhysOrg article [physorg.com] today about how certain compounds in red wine seem to retard the onset of Alzheimer's, among other things. Check it out.

It's simple. (1)

fmayhar (413222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861497)

Like everything else, it's "use it or lose it." Keep learning new stuff, keep remembering stuff, keep using it, don't slow down and for Bob's sake don't stop! I'm 48 and so far, so good. Hell, I'm even learning Mandarin at this late date.

Oh, and for the person who blames Google? I _work_ at Google. :-)

try using your brain less and tools more (1)

ckolar (43016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861507)

As a 39 year old psychologist one month away from the big four oh and noticing cognitive slowdown, I would suggest trying not to force the issue but look for a way to hack it. I started using David Allen's Getting Things Done [davidco.com] system three years ago and - yeah I know gimmicky business thing blah blah -- it is actually a great way to relieve yourself from having to remember things.

On the technical end I run Tracks [rousette.org.uk] to manage my work, there are a lot of GTD-related programs so shop around.

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