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What Coloradans Should Know about Certain Drugs and Associated Memory Loss

A number of commonly prescribed drugs can affect a person’s short- and long-term memory. Short-term memory, also known as working memory, refers to anything that happened within the last 30 seconds — like forgetting what you meant to add to your grocery list after picking up your pen or misplacing your eyeglasses. Long-term memory involves anything beyond this brief window. Whether it’s a recent event or a childhood memory, forgetting something after more than 30 seconds is considered long-term memory loss. Drugs that affect short-term memory can interfere with a person’s ability to focus and process information. These medications disrupt so-called messenger pathways in the brain, changing the short-term memory processing. Once a person stops taking the medications, however, short-term memory improves. Medications that can impact long-term memory interfere with neurotransmitters in the brain. These are the body’s chemical messengers that help you to think, move, breathe, and function generally, and when they don’t work like they should, a number of problems can occur, including issues with thinking and memory. Prescribed drugs can also have effects on older adults different from how younger persons might be affected. For a detailed look at several classes of prescribed meds and their potential effects on memory, see our AgeWise Colorado article at:  https://agewisecolorado.org/blog/what-coloradans-should-know-about-certain-drugs-and-associated-memory-loss/

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