The formation of memory is a complex matter involving input and recollection processes dependent on brain chemicals and pathways being intact.

It is important to isolate the area where the memory problem lies. Difficulty in the input, ie the senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste, can lead to incorrect assessment. Once the brain has assessed the situation, it will decide whether to store the event in short-, medium- or long-term memory stores; for example, the brain will register the colour of a tie that somebody was wearing at a meeting. This is not considered to be an important factor in survival and therefore will probably be stored in short-term memory. After a while the chemicals that have been formed and stored in one part of the brain will be broken down and that memory will be erased. Medium-term memory will register, say, the directions to a party but if the venue is unlikely to be visited again this too will be erased. Long-term memory will have neurotransmitters and pathways formed for important matters or those laid down in youth when the brain is at its most receptive. Short-term can pass into medium-term, which in turn can be logged into long-term memory.

Recall from any memory centre is an important part of memory function and then the ability to express it finalizes the pathway. How often do we all sit there complaining that we know the answer but just cannot bring it to mind?

Any condition that interferes with the pathways, the formation of neurotransmitters or the actual parts of the brain that retain facts and events, can cause an impairment or loss of memory.

Fatigue, whether caused by overdoing things or by a disease processes such as hypothyroidism, will create an increase in the production of adrenaline or other catecholamines. Anxiety, nervousness and fear will all produce these chemicals as well. Catecholamines are principally there to save our lives and tell the brain to focus on life-threatening situations rather than for memorizing. A poor example would be trying to memorize the recipe for a cake whilst watching a lion move stealthily towards you. How often have we forgotten items on a shopping list given to us by our partner when we were heading out of the door on a busy day? The catecholamines actually redirect information through different pathways and, therefore, disrupt the information being fed into the memory centres. Hypoglycaemia can have the same effect by increasing stress chemicals but also diminishes the function of the brain, which exists only on its supply of glucose.

Toxins such as alcohol, drugs of abuse, smoking, agrochemicals and specific foods to which individuals may be allergic can all put chemicals in the system that interfere with both the production of neurotransmitters and the pathways.

Damage to the brain or the pathways through trauma, stroke or tumour may affect memory. Decreasing the amount of brain tissue, as in Alzheimer’s disease or senile dementia, and decreased oxygenation and nutritional supply by a narrowing of the arteries will all interfere with memory by destruction of tissue or nerve pathways.


Temporary memory loss is most commonly caused by poor concentration or toxic intake such as alcohol. No treatment is necessary but caution is advised on intake and stress levels.

Memory loss or impairment that is persistent needs to be assessed by a specialist to isolate the cause. Special memory tests and CT scans of the brain may be employed. Remember that orthodox neurologists may not consider agrochemicals, food allergy or low blood sugar as a cause of memory loss.

Deficiencies in proteins, zinc, vitamin B12, folic acid and lecithin are common in the elderly, the stressed or the unwell who have decreased appetites. Deficiencies in fat intake caused by strict and incorrect dieting may also create a problem. Deficiencies should be measured and corrected.

Blood and hair analysis for the detection of deficiencies and heavy metal toxicity should be undertaken. Lead, aluminium and mercury may all be culprits in memory loss.

Relaxation techniques and counselling, if necessary, should be considered in stressed individuals.

Exercising the brain through intellectual reading, crosswords, debate and puzzles is essential, especially in older age.

Ensure that hypoglycaemia is not an issue , Mercuhus and Alumina may all be beneficial if heavy metal poisoning is found to exist. The homeopathic remedies Anarcardium and Sulphur may be useful at potency 200 taken daily for five days if the ability to remember names and words is a problem.