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Memory Retention


One of our employees suffers from epilepsy. The medication that he takes to control this means he suffers from a poor memory retention and has real trouble retaining facts etc. Can you think of any appropriate courses / coaching sessions that would give him any help in this area? Obviously this is rather a difficult area as the problem is being caused by the medication he is taking.
Rachel Evans

4 Responses

  1. Repetition, repetition, repetition

    Without knowing exactly why the medicine interferes with this chap’s memory, here are a couple of VERY broad pointers:

    1. When learning takes place it is basically a process of taking in information, sorting it and storing it. That’s input -> short-term memory -> long term memory.

    Long-term memory depends on the setting up of a structure of links between neurons (brain cells).
    These structures are established by repeated firing of millions of cells to create and maintain strong links within the network.
    The “firing” is actually a series of electro-chemical events, and it *may* be that the medicine is interfering with the production of neurotransmitter chemicals and therefore reducing the effectiveness of this “firing” process.

    2. For reasons which aren’t clear, an emotional input to the learning process makes it more effective. The second possibility is that the medicine is damping down the guy’s emotional activity (which is also chemical, but doesn’t work in the same way).

    What might be beneficial, then, is to find ways of frequently repeating the information he has to learn. If it’s written down, find ways of saying the same thing several times over, but in different words each time.

    In fact aim to use all three main senses as far as you can. Record the information on audio tape so he can listen to it when he has some free time. In addition to the basic text use illustrations and colour. Give him physical exercises of some kind that complement the learning.
    All this will increase the complexity of the network and literally provide a range of pathways to the same information.

    Find a way to add emotion. Include short jokes, romantic stuff, limericks, whatever. It may sound weird but simply pepping up the guy’s emotions whilst he’s learning (preferably in a pleasant fashion) will help retention.
    (And combat the effect of the medicine to a certain extent if it is sedating him. But be sure to go for pleasant emotion rather than excitement.)

    Hope this is of use

    One of the following web sites might contain some techniques which would be helpful to your colleague:

    A fantastic site full to brim with wholesome goodness and techniques and methods for developing memory techniques and methods. One of the best.
    Another good site, it also has some tips helping to remember names and faces.
    A web based Zen memory enhancement programme. Look interesting and worth looking at.
    Another good site with techniques and methods for improving memory skills.
    The web based facet of an Exploratorium exhibition. Good but not with so many practical resources.
    A gateway site to lots of memory enhancement web sites. Worth going to.
    Looking like a clone of mind tools here are a range of memory techniques.

  3. Medication
    Has he considered going back to his doctor for a medication review? This is always worth considering.


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