Keep Forgetting Things? It Might Be a Hidden Brain Advantage

Forgetting things can be annoying and worrying. As we grow older, those trends make us wonder if we are getting dementia. According to a new theory in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, there are several key points:

  1. We must remember that, at any moment, we’re all exposed so much stimulation. This over exposure is hard for our brain to handle.
  2. Forgetting some things is a natural mechanism of the brain, without which it would be almost impossible to function in daily life.
  3. The brain must promote access to specific memories — ideally, the most useful ones. This promotion pushes the useless details back.

Memories are stored in ensembles of neurons called ‘engram cells,’ and forgetting occurs when engram cells cannot be reactivated. Quite often it is normal. Forgetting may be a functional feature of the brain, allowing it to interact dynamically with the environment.

Forgetting memories can be beneficial, leading to more flexible behavior and better decision-making.

If memories are gained in circumstances that are not wholly relevant to the current environment, forgetting them can improve our well-being.

When you remember- “what you forget” is usually not a sign of dementia. In dementia, though, there are other signs like language problems, task difficulties, and forgetting what was learned in the past. More here.