Volume 2, Issue 3
January 15, 2009

An easy memory test
you can do at home

If you think you're losing your memory, you don't have to go to your doctor to find out. There's a quick and easy memory test that you can do at home to track your memory.ÿ It's the same screening test that I have used in the clinic for many years. And though it's very simple in design, it's remarkably accurate in determining and measuring memory loss.

To get started, all you need is a pencil and paper.

First, make up a list of 10 one-to-two syllable common nouns. Here's the list I often use:ÿ leg, cheese, tent, motor, flower, stamp, cup, king, forest, menu. After the list is made up, then say these instructions to the person you are testing (if you're testing yourself, ask someone to help you):

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(1) I have a list of 10 common nouns. I'm going to say them one at a time. Every time I say one, I want you to repeat it out loud. When I have finished the last word, I will point to you. At that time, I want you to repeat back as many of the words as you can remember. You can say the words in any order you want.

(2) When you can no longer remember any more of the words, we will repeat the same procedure a second time.

(3) After the second time, we will do this one more final time. The third and last time will be different. On the third time, I will just say the words without you repeating them. And as soon as I finish saying the last word, I will point to you so that you can repeat as many of them as possible.

(4) Your final score on the test will be the best score that you have out of all three attempts.ÿ Do you understand?

As soon as you are sure the person understands the instructions, you can carry out the test. As the person repeats each word back, put a check mark next to it.

When the test is concluded, you will have three columns of checks. Tally them up. The person's score is the total of the most correct answers that they had on any one of the three tests.ÿ Here's how to score the results.

(1) A score of 10 out of 10 is very unusual, and indicates exceptionally good short-term memory and focus.

(2) A score of 8-9 out of 10 is the usual score for good memory and focus.

(3) A score of 6-7 out of 10 indicates a marginal performance.

(4) A score of 5 or below indicates definite memory impairment.
One of the sure signs that there's a memory deficit is if the person cannot remember the instructions, and has to have them repeated more than once.

A marginal score is often the result of several changeable factors including fatigue, emotional upset, time of day, or distractions. Be sure to limit these possibilities by performing the test in the morning after a good night's rest. And make sure you do it at a time when the person you're testing is not preoccupied with or upset over something.

A score of five or lower needs to be followed up by a trip to the doctor. You can give this test once every several months in order to determine if the memory loss is improving or getting worse. When repeating the test, it's a good idea to use different words. Now all you have to do is remember where you put the results!

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

Copyright 2009 Soundview Publishing, LLC

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