Root Causes of Memory Lapses and Fatigue

The Root Causes of Memory Lapses and Fatigue

By Dr. Dennis Maness

What causes lapses in memory?  What causes mental fatigue?  Why do you feel like working, studying, and being productive during some days while others you feel mentally fatigued and listless? Throughout each day, we experience many changes in our mind. Our emotions may run the gamut, from feeling productive to fatigued, from happy-go-lucky to feeling mildly depressed. Mental fatigue can bring about feelings of stress, depression, insomnia, and low self-esteem. These negative feelings may develop over a few hours or as quickly as in a few minutes.  Resolving the negative feelings for many can take days and sometimes weeks.

Three major causes of Mental Fatigue and Memory lapses are:

Lack of proper Rest, Uncontrolled Stress, and Improper Nutrition.

Lack of proper Rest has a negative effect on mood, stress levels, ability to process thoughts, and nervous system functions.  It will cause you to feel weak, physically run down, lethargic, and often mildly depressed. Brown University researchers discovered that fatigued medical residents, when placed in a driving simulator, performed at least as badly as they did under the influence of alcohol.  The results of this study suggest that real-life conditions of sleep deprivation are equivalent to or worse than impairments caused by moderate alcohol intoxication.  Such fatigue also causes slow cognitive transmission and affects how we process thought and memory, and our ability to be productive.

One way to feel better and less fatigued is to balance or adjust the neurochemicals in your brain and body. This can be done artificially by using over-the-counter and prescription medications.  Most of these products act as switches, turning something off or on inside your brain.  You can best understand this by comparing the light switch in your living room, which controls a number of outlets and light sources, to that of the chemical reactions caused by medications.  When you turn the switch on or off, all the living room lights connected to the switch are affected.  The same is true with most medications: they re-arrange the chemicals in the brain thus affecting an entire “living room” of functions.  Without continual use of these medications, the problem will once again emerge.  Medication is a short-term solution that doesn’t fix the problem but rather temporarily suspends it while creating other health issues as side effects. 

Uncontrolled Stress: You cannot achieve peak performance when inordinate stress levels affect the processing of information and your moods. Stress will impact your ability to focus, to concentrate on projects, to pay attention in school, and can even impair your social life. It will also affect your memory, impede productivity, and your physical health. 

Improper Nutrition:  What you eat affects you. The amount of evidence linking emotional and behavioral problems directly to dietary choices is profound.  What we eat becomes part of our cellular make-up. Cells are the basic structures that make up all tissues and organs. Proper fat and amino-acid metabolism are vital to create the materials necessary for cell membranes. Improper cellular membrane formation will send misinformation along the nerve pathways. This action may result in faulty nerve function and brain information transmission.

Just what can cause such interference with the information transmission? 

As little as one bag of French fries can be a contributor to mental fatigue, brain fog, depressive symptoms, as well as hyperactivity.  How?  It takes more than three months for one bag of French fries to be properly processed through the body.  If the body cannot adequately process fats, nerve transmission will be jeopardized.  Improper nerve function can inflict havoc in brain/body communications.

Sugar depletes the body of essential minerals and B vitamins.  All sugar, whether natural or refined, requires B-complex vitamins, calcium, and magnesium for digestion.  Natural sugars from complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, and whole unprocessed grains contain enough of these nutrients to assist our bodies in their own digestion. 

Simple refined sugars (including white bread, pastries, candy, sodas, etc.) do not contain these digestive nutrients. Instead, they deplete our body’s B-complex vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.  Sugar also weakens white blood cells, which are essential to your health and immune system. 

Did you know that one 8-ounce can of soda contains 7.5 teaspoons of sugar?  If you purchase the bottles of soda, notice on the label how many servings are in that drink.  A 24-ounce bottle contains 3 servings.  If you consume the entire bottle, you have just ingested 24 teaspoons of sugar. 

  • Soft drinks are the single largest source of processed sugar in children’s diets

  • 33% of teenage boys consume 3 soft drinks each day, or approximately 24 teaspoons of sugar

So why do we see so many children being diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, learning disorders,  and the inability to pay attention?  Perhaps a good place for correction should include a look at diet.  Some fruit juices contain as many grams of sugar as soda.  Most soft drinks and doughnuts have virtually no food value or nutrients.

Any of the above factors can impact us in the form of slowed cognitive abilities, physical, and mental fatigue, all of which can affect our grades and / or productivity.   This combination of mental and physical fatigue causes people to work harder and accomplish less, compounding the fatigue.

In the clinic, I start by mapping your brain.  It is non-invasive, and most of my clients will sleep during the process.  The map will allow me to review what is happening in your brain’s neuropathways.   We use a brain map like one would use a roadmap.  A roadmap helps us get from point “A” to point “B”.  A brain map helps us find the pathways that shed light on what is happening within your brain.  With this information, I am able to create protocols designed to make adjustments, corrections, and simply balance your brain.

When we work remotely, we use a series of assessments to help us map the brain, using behavioral relationship techniques: how certain areas of the brain react and cause certain outcomes.    

Neurochemical imbalance can wreak havoc on the brain.  Often this is caused by a chemical imbalance, food sensitivity, or diet.   We use three different tests to help us understand what is going on with the neurochemicals.  Most insurance companies cover the neurochemical tests.

Read about the experiences of two recent clients:

SC was hardly coherent when he came to the office.  He complained greatly of memory loss, his lack of balance/equilibrium following chemotherapy, and a variety of scans and procedures for brain cancer.  When I did his brain map, I found multiple areas in his frontal and temporal lobes that were out of balance and that could be impeding his memory and slowing his cognitive reaction.  SC would visit following chemotherapy, Rife machine treatment, and other protocols he was using.  SC last reported the inflammation in his brain is greatly reduced and his chronic headaches are gone.  His cognitive function is back to normal and so is his memory. He and his wife are happily sharing stories about his amazing recovery with all their friends and family.

RY, age 13, was concerned about being able to focus and retain attention, especially because school was starting in only a couple of weeks. He had been diagnosed as being mildly dyslexic by medical doctors, and when I took a closer look at his brain map, I found that mental fatigue was another a contributing factor to his challenges with school.  Through brain entrainment exercises, we were able to improve his peripheral vision, comprehension, and his cognitive function.  RY is now able to bring his focus to attention within eight seconds and maintain focus for up to seven minutes.  This is a huge increase from when he first came in, when it took him fifteen seconds to focus and he could maintain focus for only a few seconds.  His mental fatigue is gone.  Today he has the tools to take home so that he is able to energize and refresh his brain rapidly whenever he needs to.

BrainTek Institute continues to stay at the cutting edge of brain / body research.  Our research has helped us become successful with traumatic brain injury, stroke, focus / attention issues, and other cognitive challenges.  We are also studying how early detection of irregular brainwave behavior is a valuable predictor of potential challenges.

International Society for Neurofeedback Research

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