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What are the benefits of an annual memory screening for adults age 45 and older?

People often associate memory loss with the senior years, say 65 and over, but the factors that can contribute to memory impairment when we’re older begin much earlier in life. The earlier these risk and preventative factors are identified and addressed, the better chance we have of mitigating cognitive decline in the first place. That’s why it’s important to begin having an annual memory test around age 45. It enables us to both establish a baseline and take preventive and corrective action, as needed.

The benefits of having an annual cognitive screening are basically three-prong:

1. Identifying any risk factors you may have, and lifestyle changes you could make to optimize brain health. When it comes to cognitive health, it’s important to manage any chronic health conditions; get good quality and quantity sleep; proactively manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, and psychosocial stressors; eat a good diet; and maximize physical, social and cognitive activity. A cognitive screening with result in individualized recommendations to support healthy cognitive aging.

2. Ruling out treatable causes of cognitive change, such as sleep disorders and the impact of depression and anxiety.

3. Providing an early referral for neurological consultation when an emerging memory and cognitive disorder is suspected, to facilitate prompt diagnosis and intervention, when treatments are most effective at modifying disease course.

I encourage all adults age 45 and older to get a comprehensive annual memory screening, such as the one offered through Hoag’s Orange County Vital Brain Program, part of the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute. The screening takes only 45 minutes, but the benefits will last a lifetime. Visit or call 949- 764-6288 to get started.

By Lauren Bennett, Ph.D.