The newsletter of the Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers University

As editor of the Memory Loss & the Brain newsletter, I was very pleased at the enthusiastic reception that our inaugural Winter 2000 issue received. Many people have written to tell us that they found the articles interesting and helpful, and have suggested topics for future articles.

Many of our readers voiced a common concern: When does minor forgetfulness become a cause for concern? This issue's cover story describes the sorts of changes in memory that most people should expect as they grow older, and how these changes differ from serious memory disorders.

This issue of Memory Loss & the Brain also discusses a lesser-known cause of memory impairment: Vascular dementia.

Today, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) remains the leading cause of dementia. It is a disorder marked by a debilitating decline in memory and thinking that cannot be prevented or cured.

In contrast, vascular dementia–caused by interruptions of blood supply to the brain–can be treated quite effectively and, in some cases, even reversed. The feature article on page 3 tells you what scientists know about the causes and treatment of vascular dementia.    

To round off this issue, we offer a profile of John DeLuca, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at the Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation in West Orange, New Jersey. Dr. DeLuca studies people who, due to a certain kind of stroke, develop a devastating syndrome called Confabulation that causes them to recall false or inaccurate memories without any awareness of doing so.

The study of confabulation reveals much about the fragile nature of memory, and highlights the degree to which a healthy memory is vital to everyday living.

We will continue to send our subscribers the printed version, free of charge, and pack it with as much news and information as we can fit into a compact newsletter format. But, for those with Internet access, the new web site offers much of the content we have had to leave out of the newsletter due to space restrictions.

Sponsored by a grant from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, the site will offer expanded versions of articles from the newsletter, additional memory news coverage, an archive of back issues, a glossary of memory-related terms, and extended listings of sources of further information on the web and elsewhere.

We hope that Memory Loss & the Brain online will become a valued resources for all of our readers. We encourage you to browse the site. And, as always, let us know how we can use it to better serve your needs and interests.

Catherine E. Myers, Ph.D. Co-Director, Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers-Newark