How do people with Alzheimer’s not forget everything?


How do people with Alzheimer’s not forget everything? For example, I have seen people with Alzheimer’s who do not remember loved ones and other stuff, but they still remember how to speak and how to move etc. What stops them from forgetting every single tiny little thing they know?

In: Biology

Not all memories are stored in the same way. The brain is a mishmash of billions of connections, all interacting and interacting with other interactions. There’s some general rules for what gets stored where though, facial memories and memories of people are stored in one area, while muscle memory and memory about how to do things is usually stored in a different area.

Alzheimer kills Neurons. There are different amounts of neurons for different memories/tasks. The more a often neuron gets used, the more neurons of the same type form. (Yes I know it’s more complicated but it will do for this eli5)

Saw a film yesterday but weren’t really paying attention. Not many neurons. So few, you might just completely forget this movie without even having akzheimers.

Your favorite movie of all time that you have seen 10 times, talked about with multiple friends and read about in multiple forums? That has a good chance of staying with you till the day you die.

The neurons responsible for triggering your breathing many times per minute, 24/7, 365 days a year for your entire lifetime? There are a lot of those. They are among the last to go.

My eng not good but i’ll try explain it. Alzheimer’s occurs when proteins in the brain’s memory areas are produced incorrectly and accumulate in nerve cells. This build-up is happening slowly. Therefore, things forgotten happen slowly. First of all, while memory areas are affected, even the ability to swallow is lost in the later stages. I’m not sure if the answer you wanted is something like this. I hope it works.

They do, eventually. In advanced Alzheimer’s, the ability to swallow, move, talk and all muscle control decreases until it’s gone. The last thing to go is breathing. Often, people in this state die from malnourishment, or infection/pneumonia. It’s a horrible, protracted way to go.

People have already provided good explanations, but I just wanted to add: procedural memory (how to do things like tie your shoes), semantic memory (facts, like who was the president during 9/11) and episodic memory (your own life experiences, like what you ate for dinner last night) are all stored in completely different places in the brain and operate on different pathways.

Episodic memory and semantic memory together are called “explicit memories” which means you can say out loud exactly what the memory was. Procedural memory is also known as “implicit memory” which just means that you don’t have a memory of a specific event, you just generally know how to write your name for example, without remembering who taught you and where you were when you learned it.

Often times when people’s memories are affected in any way, whether by Alzheimer’s, amnesia, stroke, or something else, explicit memories are affected but not procedural memories. Especially at the beginning of Alzheimer’s, you might start forgetting who your grandchild is or where you put your keys, but you still remember how to knit or how to put on clothes because that’s a different kind of memory. Eventually, though, those other memories can also be affected, leaving people with Alzheimer’s unable to care for themselves. Memory is definitely a wacky thing and I highly recommend reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks, it has some good examples of some really fascinating memory conditions (like the man whose memory completely resets to 1966 every 30 seconds- every memory before that general year is perfectly intact, but he can’t make new memories at all so is always stuck thinking it’s still 1966 and is shocked to see how old his wife looks every time she comes into the room).

No offense, but your question is naive and flawed. While every case is a bit different, eventually, the Alzheimer’s patient DOES forget everything they know, loses the ability to feed themselves and talk, and then even “forgets” how to swallow properly, leading to death if a feeding tube is not utilized.