1.18. Ghosted Memory

The slow daily erosion of the mind is a relentless process that is inevitable and makes memory loss a certainty.

Dementia, derived from the Latin for ‘memory loss’ is the core at a variety of diseases that can inflict the brain and mind.

With people increasingly living longer, it’s estimated that halfway through the 21st century a possible one in three of the UK population will experience dementia in one of its many forms.

The most commonly known form of dementia is Alzheimer’s, named after the scientist who reported it in 1907.

Whereas other diseases such as cancer have a wide range of understanding and treatments, dealing with dementia is relatively in the dark ages.

The human brain is the most sophisticated machine known to us and it will be many years before it is even close to being fully understood.

You are a born with a brain the same size as a chimpanzee’s.

In the first two years of your life, the amount of connections made by the synapses is astonishing to the point where it goes beyond what can be counted.

But in those first two years your sense of identity is like a ghost. Both young infants and those in the advanced stages of dementia have ghosted memory.

Animals have a form of ghosted memory where Short Term Memory never truly saves into any new Long Term Memory.

As you get older and the connections die away all is not lost.

But new connections can still be made.

In fact, by the age of 70, most people who have kept their brains active should have about 97% of the brain cells when they were young adults.

It’s only when you can recognise you as you that memory and identity are formed.

This is then continually strengthened through the reinforcement of you living your daily life, remembering what happened to you yesterday and imagining what will happen to you tomorrow.

You’re not a ghost yet are you?

Image from www.theguardian.com

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