Dear Sandra

Dear Sandra,

Is it true that there are miracle cures out there for improving memory? I can read a chapter in my textbook and not remember what was at the beginning by the time I get to the end! I’m only in my mid-thirties, and I’m already losing my memory!

Can’t Even Remember My Name in Saskatchewan 😉

Dear Don’t Remember Your Name,

I empathize with you. Though my memory is usually quite sharp, there are days when I just can not retain what I read. There are also days, like exam days, where I can not for the life of me recall basic information or directions. Age is not the only factor in memory retention; deficiencies in our bodies, stress and poor study skills are also key factors.

First, to address your reference to miracle cures, I’m assuming you are talking about the studies demonstrating the effects of the ginkgo biloba extract on improving memory and over all mental function. I am not a nutritionist or a homeopathic advisor, but I do know that this extract is often referred to as nature’s memory-booster. Green super-foods such as spirulina, wheatgrass juice (used in some smoothies at Booster-Juice) and barley grass juice also provide a high intake of powerful antioxidants that are associated with enhancing mental function. I recently completed a paper on Alzheimer’s and through my research came across studies that linked a lack of omega-3 fatty acids (found in some fish and nuts) to poor brain function in children, attention deficit disorder, depression and Alzheimer’s. Your local health food store advisor will be able to direct you to these homeopathic “miracle” cures. Remember, before taking any supplements, consult your doctor. Instead of homeopathic remedies your memory fatigue could be medically based; low B-12, low iron, etc. Some homeopathic supplements may interfere with medical prescriptions as well, so it wise to keep your doctor informed as to what supplements, herbs, or extracts you may be taking.

Now, if your poor memory is not a deficiency or medical condition, it may help to look at your stress level. Stress can also contribute to poor memory. If your mind is trying to cope with a million things at once, it’s not going to be able to retain Freud’s theories or the Changing Masters’ Theory in regard to Canadian history. Find ways to alleviate your stress and try to clear your mind with meditation or a quick nap before study time.

Finally, you could be experiencing study skill deficiencies. AUSU provides students with a series of free booklets discussing topics related to studying at AU. Contact the AUSU office at to have these booklets mailed to you. The AU Counselling department is also a great resource for dealing with study skill deficiencies; contact Julia McDonald at for more information on services they provide.

Good luck! Remember to let me know if this information helped.

This column is for entertainment only. Sandra is not a professional counsellor, but is an AU student who would like to give personal advice about school and life to her peers. Please forward your questions to Sandra care of