Everyone is looking for ways to improve their memory. And this is especially true in older adults, who may be struggling with the first signs of dementia of Alzheimer’s disease. A new study has shown that using drawing could help enhance memory, better than writing out lists, or notes.
Drawing could help enhance memory
The research, conducted at the University of Waterloo found that even if people are not “good” at drawing, it helped them to retain information better than re-writing notes:
“We found that drawing enhanced memory in older adults more than other known study techniques,” said Melissa Meade, PhD candidate in cognitive neuroscience at Waterloo. “We’re really encouraged by these results and are looking into ways that it can be used to help people with dementia, who experience rapid declines in memory and language function.”
Study looked at both young and older adults
The study looked at both young and older adults. A group of undergraduate students were paired with a group of senior citizens. Participants were asked to perform a variety of memory-encoding methods before recall was tested. Individuals were asked to encode words by either writing them out, drawing them, or listing physical attributes associated with the word. The results showed that drawing led to better memory recall than other methods, especially in older adults. It is thought that the reason for this is that drawing incorporates multiple neuronetworks for representing information – visual, spatial, verbal, semantic, and motoric.
Memory ability typically declines with age. This is thought to be the case of deterioration in brain structures such as the hippocampus and frontal lobes. However, visuospatial regions of the brain involved in processing pictures and images are largely preserved.
“We think that drawing is particularly relevant for people with dementia because it makes better use of brain regions that are still preserved, and could help people experiencing cognitive impairment with memory function,” said Meade. “Our findings have exciting implications for therapeutic interventions to help dementia patients hold on to valuable episodic memories throughout the progression of their disease”
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Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.