Patricia L. B. Lockyear, PsyD

Disclosures

December 07, 2004

In This Article

Introduction

Although memory loss can be considered a natural part of the aging process, it is a major contributor to mild cognitive decline, and it is listed as one of the greatest fears among individuals older than 65 years of age.[1] Memory loss, especially delayed recall,[2] can signal the onset of dementia and often leads to institutionalization and a decrease in the quality of life. As with many health concerns, ethnic groups experience memory loss and cognitive decline differently. A review of current research on memory loss and culture, social determinants, and ethnicity confirms existing knowledge about negative correlations between socioeconomic status, education level, mental activity, and memory loss and reveals few conclusive correlations between health risk factors and memory loss or cognitive decline. This fourth essay on "Nutrition, Culture, and Women's Health" describes some of the ethnic differences related to memory loss and cognitive decline. Highlights of recent research on health-related risk factors for cognitive decline and the role of diet are discussed.

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