Some memory changes in aging brain are normal

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"When someone is depressed," Lehmann said, "it slows down their ability to think and process and remember. But sometimes, depression can be a first symptom of dementia. It is a complicated relationship.

"Treating depression improves memory, the ability to concentrate, organize, problem-solve and all of that. Untreated depression can be a risk factor for future dementia. In any case, depression needs to be taken seriously."

And finally, sleep, which becomes more elusive as we age, may have a role in all of this.

"Sleep often gets short shrift," said Lehmann. "Sleep is important for the consolidation of memory and fatigue degrades the ability to remember."

The message might be that there will be changes in memory as we age that are as normal and stable over time as the changes in our eyeglass prescriptions. Those changes don't mean that you are condemned to forget who you are or who you love.

"This should be exciting and reassuring," Lehmann said. "The things that we want to do anyway, that are good for our health in general and for our sense of well-being, are also good for our brains."

susan.reimer@baltsun.com



If you go



Women of the World-Baltimore



What: A three-day festival of mentoring, storytelling, discussion, entertainment, information and news from, about and for women.

Where: Events will be held at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, MedChi, the Theatre Project and the Lyric.

When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. Doors open at 9 a.m. each day.

How much: Tickets are $10 per day, $5 with student ID. A weekend pass is $20 or $15 with student ID. Parking at Cathedral Street Garage is $6 per car, cash only. Women-operated food trucks will be in front of the Meyerhoff from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Info: For a schedule of events, entertainers and speakers, go to wowbaltimore.org.

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