How Good is Your Memory?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of Dementia. Recently, there has been an increase in its prevalence due to an aging population. However, little remains known about the disease. Is it genetically determined? Is it due to environmental factors? The answer is: probably a mix of both.

To help better understand the disease, a team of Doctors from Arizona started a research project called The website is open to all to take a quick memory test of approximately 10 minutes. They are looking to reach a total goal of 1 Million participants, and so far have reached nearly 50,000 participants.

With your help — and millions of other volunteers like you — we can make real progress towards understanding and treating Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.

This research project uses a standardized memory recall test. It has criterion-referenced interpretations, where the results are compared to a specified level of performance, calculating the percentage of correct answers. Participants are presented with a list of 12 word pairs individually. Once memorized, one word of each pair is shown in a random order and the participants need to recall the other word it was paired with. This process is repeated three times. At the end, participants receive a score out of 100, which is also compared to other similar people and to the overall average.

I have included a link to the test below. Remember, the result you receive is not intended — nor is it able — to diagnose you with risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease. However, your result may help with the researchers’ main goal of better understanding the disease. It may also give you an indication of whether or not your memory needs improving compared to your average group’s memory.

In the case where you score lower than the average, don’t fret. There are ways that have been proven to work in improving memory. One such example is a mnemonic technique known as the Method of Loci, where you try to imagine an item in places you are familiar with, and the location will act as a clue to help you remember the item. Usually the more bizarre the connection (e.g. cookies in your toilet bowl) the better the results. Also, recent studies have found that women are more likely to get Alzheimer’s, and a reason being that women were previously less educated than men. Therefore, higher education may help with developing and improving your memory, which might in turn keep your memory working better for longer.

For those who are wondering, I received a score of 64%… I think I will stay in school for as long as possible (hello future Dr. Akilya).


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