​Memory Loss in Younger Generation Result of Digital Amnesia, Expert Explains

​Memory Loss in Younger Generation Result of Digital Amnesia, Expert Explains

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Experts say smartphone addiction could impair the brain’s ability to retain new information and form new memories. This leads to ‘digital amnesia’.

What is ‘digital amnesia’? It is basically a phenomenon where brains are losing their ability to remember quickly as people are becoming increasingly reliant on technology. Dr Kaustubh Mahajan, consultant neurologist, Fortis SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim, opined that smartphone addiction could impair the brain’s ability to retain new information and form new memories. In a chat with The Indian Express, Mahajan explained that smartphone addiction can interrupt sleep.

Highlighting the importance of sleep, the expert said that deep sleep detoxifies our brain, and this is when the brain engages in synaptic pruning, which is a process of pruning old information and making room to register a new one. With sleeping cycles getting disturbed, synaptic pruning doesn’t take place properly. Hence, our ability to retain new information and form new memories is affected.

The pandemic has also impacted digital amnesia as people have been out of practice in social interactions. The doctor said that instead of running around, bumping into each other, talking face-to-face, everyone is confined to one room, wherein they have to just stare at the same screen for endless online meetings and projects.

The expert noted that several prescriptions and medications can also interfere with or cause loss of memory. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, antihistamines, sleeping pills, and pain medications are given after surgery are also culprits of memory loss. Overconsumption of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs also impacts an individual’s memory.

How to manage digital amnesia? Here are some tips shared by the expert:

1. Do not carry your mobile phone to bed at night.

2. Turn off notifications

3. Remove all non-essential apps.

4. Allocate one day in a week to screen-free day

5. The impact of digital amnesia on the brain can be minimised, if one uses headphones or loudspeakers while calling, especially when there is low network quality and the mobile phone is functioning to its maximum potential.

Healthy eating

This goes without saying that good nutrition, like high-quality proteins and fats, is extremely important for proper brain functioning. Deficiencies in vitamin B1 and B12 can affect an individual’s memory.

– Have a balanced diet

– Learn new skills or a new language

– Exercise – walking, aerobics, running

– Get proper sleep

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