LONDON: Acting out or recreating the action you would like to remember before you execute it can keep you from forgetting things like taking medication, or leaving the stove on, scientists suggest.
A failing prospective memory – not remembering to take an action one had planned – can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to University of Chichester in the UK.
New therapeutic methods are being used to utilise levels of prospective memory as a means to accurately diagnose diseases of cognitive impairment.
Such methods can be effective non-invasive alternatives to traditional clinical methods such as the extraction of cerebral spinal fluid.
For a study published in the journal Neuropsychology, researchers studied prospective memory performance of 96 participants including patients with mild cognitive impairment aged 64 to 87 years, healthy older adults aged 62 to 84 years and younger adults aged 18 to 22 years.
The study looked at prospective memory performance before the introduction of an enhancement technique and compared it with performance after the enhancement technique.
The technique used was encoded enactment, where subjects were encouraged to act through the activity they must remember to do.
All age groups reported improvement in prospective memory, but it was particularly marked in those older subjects with mild cognitive impairment, that is, potentially in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study suggests that encouraging people in this category to adopt enactment as a means to enhance prospective memory could result in them leading independent, autonomous lives for longer. (AGENCIES)