The newsletter of the Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers University

This marks the first issue of Memory Loss & the Brain

A newsletter which will appear four times a year. The newsletter will bring you the latest news and information about memory impairments due to disease, injury, and aging, and current findings on how they can be treated. One purpose of this newsletter is to help you make sense out of research discoveries.

For example: our cover story in this issue is on Ginkgo biloba, an herbal supplement taken by millions of Americans. Consumers and manufac? turers of ginkgo claim that it has been "clinically proven" to help memory, while some scientists argue that no such proof exists. How do you know whom to believe?

In this newsletter, we will sort through the sometimes contradictory research findings on memory. We hope that Memory Loss & the Brain will provide you with the basic information you need to keep up with - and take advantage of - scientific research.    

Process of memory research itself

This newsletter will also provide information about the process of memory research itself.

Current understanding of human memory obviously depends on the scientists and clinicians who direct research studies. But it depends just as much on the "ordinary" people who offered to participate in studies.

For example: we know that some kinds of memory tend to degrade as we age, such as memory for the names of people we have recently met. Other kinds of memory tend to survive well into old age, such as memory for new faces. We know this because hundreds of people of all ages went to research laboratories and allowed scientists to administer simple memory tests. The results allow us to compare how the memory of an average 20-year-old differs from the memory of an average 60-year-old.

Studies like these help us to understand how memory works normally and how it is disrupted by injury or disease. Many of the articles in this newsletter will discuss this kind of research. On page 4 of this issue, you'll find information about how to locate memory research projects in your area, and what to do if you're interested in participating in one.

We hope you find this newsletter informative and entertaining, and we welcome your comments. This newsletter is provided free of charge. If you would like to continue receiving it, or if you would like us to send a copy to someone you know, please turn to the subscription information on this page.

In the meantime, don't forget that your memory is among your most precious assets. Use it every way you can, and work to make it the best that it can be. For advice on how to get started, check out our Memory Tips.

Mark A. Gluck, Ph.D.
Catherine E. Myers, Ph.D.
Co-Directors, Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers-Newark