Memory Impairment (AAMI) refers to a normal decline in memory
due to aging.
Some decline in memory
is normal as we age. This often takes the form of "memory
lapses" (e.g., forgetting where you left your glasses). Older
memories and memories of personal information (e.g. the names
of family members) tend to survive well into old age. Individuals
with AAMI may show this kind of memory decline, but it is
within the limits of what is considered "normal" for their
age group. Memory decline which is more severe or consistent
may be classified as Mild
Cognitive Impairment and may indicate the early stages
of a condition such as dementia.
In the 1980s, a group of scientists and physicians at the
National Institutes of Health developed a set of standards
for diagnosing AAMI. A patient may be considered to have AAMI
if he or she is at least 50 years old and meets all of the
- The patient has noticed a decline in memory performance.
- The patient performs below "normal" levels on a standard
test of memory.
- All other obvious causes of memory decline, except normal
aging, have been ruled out. (In other words, the memory
decline cannot be attributed to other causes such as a recent
heart attack or head injury, depression, adverse reactions
to medication, Alzheimer's disease, etc.)
It is not yet clear how many elderly Americans would meet
all the criteria for AAMI; clearly many people survive into
extreme old age without showing any noticeable memory decline.
Forgetfulness in Old Age: It's Not What You Think.
National Institute on Aging, 1993. U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, Washington, D.C.
Article : "CROSSING
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain