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Reversing Memory Loss: Proven Methods for Regaining, Stengthening, and Preserving Your Memory, Featuring the Latest Research and Treaments Paperback – February 18, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0395944523 ISBN-10: 039594452X Edition: Rev Upd Su

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Rev Upd Su edition (February 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039594452X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395944523
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #951,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeffrey P. Mark has a master's degree in public health from Tufts University and is the coauthor, with Dr. Mark, of BRAIN POWER. Vernon H. Mark, M.D. is a clinical associate in the Department of Neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. Peviously he was the chief of neurosurgery at Boston City Hospital.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION Take Charge of Your Life Are you having trouble remembering things? Do the names of people you've met a dozen times suddenly escape you? Do you ever come into a room to perform a specific task and forget what you wanted to do? You're not alone. Many millions of people share your complaints, and hundreds of thousands regularly worry that they're losing their memories (the first sign, they think, that they're losing their minds), to the point that they seek professional medical advice.
Let me reassure you that the overwhelming majority of these complaints are not associated with Alzheimer's disease or irreversible memory loss. Even if you feel that your memory loss persists, you should not become fearful that the meaningful period of your life has suddenly ended. What you may need to do is undergo medical testing to find out what's wrong, then have the underlying problem corrected. The important thing for you to keep in mind is that many kinds of memory loss can be easily diagnosed and treated.
As you'll learn, there are many different kinds of memory, all of which are controlled by the brain, and all of which are important. However, one kind of memory is essential. It is at the center or core of memory; indeed, it is at the core of your being, representing the essential you, your personality, your feelings. It is called vital memory, and all other forms of memory are rooted in this function.
Sometimes it's difficult to understand how crucial vital memory is in our lives until we see what happens when it's destroyed. In early 1990, a woman testified before Congress about a weight-loss program her forty-five-year-old husband had enrolled in less than a year before. He had been about thirty pounds overweight, and the weight-loss clinic put him on a liquid diet that did, in fact, cause him to shed his unwanted pounds. But one day when the man was out jogging he suddenly had a stroke, the result of the kind of diet he was on, which left him in a coma. Even though he was at first paralyzed and unable to speak, intensive therapy over a period of several months improved his speech and arm and leg functions to the point that he was almost normal. He was left, however, with one critical deficiency: he had lost his vital memory. He had lost all memory of prior events, including who he was, who his wife and children were, and what had been his hopes and dreams for the future.
The man's wife was justifiably bitter. Without his vital memory, she explained, he looked the same, spoke in the same way, and did many things as he had before. Yet he was only a shadow of his former self-a Hollywood facade with no underlying structure. When his vital memory had gone, all the things that made him a unique individual also disappeared. His body was rehabilitated; his mind was not.
Such selective loss of vital memory following a stroke is very uncommon. What this man's experience illustrates, however, is not just that a stroke can be tremendously debilitating, but that his stroke could have been prevented with proper precautions. Moreover, other kinds of memory loss, even those associated with some strokes, can be reversed.
This book is about memory, but it is unlike others that address the topic. Books such as Thirty Days to a Better Memory, Business Success Through Memory, and New Secrets of Improving Your Memory and literally hundreds of others of the same variety are clearly helpful to those of us who want to improve intellectual capacity. But such improvements, nice as they are, are trivial compared to preserving vital memory and reversing the loss of our selves.
Vital memory is one of the most basic and necessary functions of our brains. The cartoonist Gary Larson captured the essence of vital memory in one of his "Far Side" cartoons. An elderly man with a stubble of whiskers wakes up in the morning. Beside the man's bed is a large poster with block letters reminding him, put your pants on before the shoes! When you wake up each morning, do you know where you are, who you are, and what the date is? Do you remember what happened the day before, and how it affected you? Do you have a general idea of how you fit into your surroundings? Most important, do you know what your plans and expectations for the immediate future are the rest of the morning, the afternoon, the evening, tomorrow?
If you retain your vital memory, you will continue to be in charge of your own life. If you don't, life will not have much meaning for you. You become an object rather than a person, someone to be taken care of. The less vital memory you have, the more your indiividual freedom is compromised. As long as you retain your vital memory you are a going concern, no matter how old you are. Even if some of your memory resources are reduced, or if your vvvvvisual or hearing memories are diminished, you'll still be able to take care of yourself.
The reason I stress vital memory as the core of your memory function is to give you some perspective on your memory complaints. The more superficial aspects of memory may be deficient from time to time in all of us, you and me included. And when you have problems such as difficulty in recalling a name, forgetting the context of a conversation, having an idea pop into your head and leave just as quickly, you should not be unduly alarmed as long as your vital memory is intact.
This book touches on a number of aspects of memory and memory loss, but the subject of vital memory is a recurring theme because it is relevant to every facet of memory. In instances of memory loss, we'll go into the diagnostic steps necessary to find the root cause of the memory problem. More often than not, a helpful treatment is available that is capable of reversing the memory loss and many of the symptoms that go with it.
Keep in mind, however, that human memory is highly subjective and fragile. As you age, you may begin to have some difficulty in remembering, for example, names, particularly when your catalogue or library of memories is very extensive. But if your brain is free from disease or injury, your vital memory should remain intact even into advanced old age.
To make certain that you understand the memory process, I want to discuss in a general way the components of memory so that you can tell the difference between the more and less essential aspects of remembering. I'll also try to give you some information that will help you enhance your ability to remember, even if something has already happened to you to decrease your memory.
I've been fortunate to participate in a revolution in medical science which has brought about major breakthroughs in treating people for loss of vital memory. Thirty years ago I witnessed countless numbers of persons who came to the hospitals where I worked in search of cures for their memory complaints, many of which we were then unable to diagnose, let alone treat. Today a majority of persons with memory problems can be helped. We now know, with certainty, that not all memory loss is permanent, and that there are specific treatments and therapies that can have enormously beneficial results in reversing many kinds of memory loss.
Copyright (c) 1999 by Vernon Mark and Jeffrey P. Mark. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By John F on March 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is really an eyeopener for me and shocked me with the facts about how many elderly are wrongly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease when they in fact have treatable other memory problems. I'd recommend it to anyone with a memory problem, including me! Also, it is reassuring that many of the things, ie forgetting names, forgetting where my car is in parking lot are not signs of serious memory loss. Also, this book emphasized to me the effect of depression on memory problems, which is comforting. The book is very caring and hopeful filled with practical advice to share with your doctor. I hope it is updated and reissued though. Valuable to read and helpful overview for people with loved ones bewildered with memory problems.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ruth on November 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this was a very well-written book about Alzheimers and dementia related illnesses. It gave some worthwhile suggestions and explanations.I think anyone dealing with aspects of this illness would benefit from reading this.
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Format: Paperback
Dr. Vernon Mark helps the reader understand memory loss; determine specific difficulties in his book "Reversing Memory Loss." The subtitle of the book "Proven Methods for Regaining, Strengthening, and Preserving Your Memory" discuss how medications, stimulants, depressants, proper diet and good nutrition can be monitored to strengthen your memory.

Mark's work can be helpful as a diagnostic tool however I was hoping to find more substance in areas the proven methods the subtitle suggests. Since the book's publication date a lot of research has been and is being done. A look at the authors in the extensive bibliography introduces other experts in the field of brain and memory research. I also found the complete index helpful in pinpointing questions I wanted to specifically address, and for a quick review process.

"Reversing Memory Loss" provides an overview of the memory process and the causes that impact memory loss.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Irish Kriss on May 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This author's take on memory loss is very different from other books I've read. I thought his discussion on negative conditioning and its effect on memory was very interesting. He demonstrated how he is able to differentiate between a conditioned memory loss and real disease by taking an in-depth patient history. He maintains that these conditioned memory losses are reversible; but he never actually reveals his memory enhancing techniques, aside from a few relaxation methods. After reading this book, I left with no practical advise and nothing new to try.
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Reversing Memory Loss: Proven Methods for Regaining, Stengthening, and Preserving Your Memory, Featuring the Latest Research and Treaments
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