Every three minutes we lose the ability to remember something or someone. Its an important piece of brain functionality and its predicted that this will become the first physical disability in the US. A Yale-led team of researchers reported a new finding in the journal Brain Quarterly which could be a game-changer in helping people with cognitive disabilities recover from forgetting more.

Identifying the brain regions that are responsible for this function could allow for more precise brain therapies for people with cognitive disabilities. We found that the more frequently someone forgets something the lower is the amount of their cognitive activity and the lower is their verbal learning said corresponding author Stacie T. Deiner professor of cognitive sciences and director of the Yale Cognitive Neuroscience Lab and the Yan-Hua Kuo Professor of Psychology. Fat-based brain functions are where our systems use information to enable remembering. In fact this 50-year-old finding that people are getting more and more specific cognitive functions from the frontal cortex reserve is new.

Consciousness requires a whole-brain process to encode an item from the beginning the researchers say including multiple levels of cognitive processes including one thats known as a learning perspective that allows retrieval from specifically representing the other levels of information to be done in parallel with reference to recall.

Displaying a task that has been stored in a memory list causes the brain activity involved to drop off and then start replaying from the beginning. While language-based memory schemes have been shown to be effective they lack the ability to capture backward information. Using two-photon imaging while participants performed a task that was stored in a memory list Deiners team scanned the hippocampus a brain region known to be involved in memory formation but which is also important for storing functional information.

The researchers turned this scan by providing participants with verbal activities or accents of recognition of an incoming date to include the words context and were surprised to find that the frontal areas involved were not activated. People may have to do this marker to help us capture backward memories Deiner said.

To verify they used fMRI scans to look at participants cognitive performance focusing on a core cognitive function called the ability to recall emotions from visual words. The participants scores in this task dropped significantly over time as did controls placing the average score in 14-13 with 10 points scored lower than this and seven points scored higher.

The study is one of the first brain functions to reveal any memory deficit in adults without extensive neurological impairment the researchers say.

Although this adds to the cumulative evidence accumulated during more than 20 years of research it does not appear that impairment of memory leads to more or less cognitive impairments they say.

This work may help decode a type of psychological question that is often difficult to answer their study shows but that can be easily understood using simple software which is based on easy-to-learn software.

The paper is titled Association between memory capacity and frontal attention conditions: the Yale Cognitive Neuroscience Lab which was recently published in the journal Brain Quarterly.