Effects of Dementia on Human Memory

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Effects of Dementia on Human Memory

By | April 2011
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Dementia’s Affect on Human Memory

Effects of Dementia on Human Memory
To first understand the effects of Dementia on human memory, you must understand memory itself. Human memory is defined as a combination of our stored images of knowledge and the varied processes used to create and manipulate them. It is no longer viewed as a unitary construct, rather as multidimensional and comprising of several interrelated systems. Our memory is made up of approximately 4 major interrelated systems, which are sensory, working, declarative and non-declarative. Inbound stimuli that enter the brain begin their journey first through sensory memory, continuing on their way eventually to working memory. These two major memory systems fall underneath the category of short term memory. Out of the 4 major interrelated systems, the shortest store of information occurs in sensory memory. Sensory receptors, which for example are ears or our eyes, receive a brief store of information which when it is then forwarded to “working” memory. This system is a dynamic, short-term, limited-capacity buffer that enables storing information briefly and actively manipulating it while it is being processed. Made up of the central executive, the phonological loop, the visuospatial sketchpad, and more recently, the episodic buffer. Each component controls and processes our memory, which is why this system is called the “working” memory. The next stage is where the newly processed information is stored into our long term memory, which is comprised of two components: declarative and nondeclarative. Declarative memory, aka “knows that”, includes 3 sub-type memories, which are: Epesodic memory, Semantic memory, and Lexical memory. Episodic memory allows mindful recall of specific episodes, Semantic memory is the extensive network of associations and concept, and Lexical memory is the discrete storage of specific word knowledge. Nondeclarative memory aka “knows how” includes, procedural...
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