What Are the Causes of Memory Loss in Youngsters?

Memory is an important aspect of who a person is and how he functions in daily life. As people age, their memory function often decreases. Disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia impair memory in older people. However, when memory loss occurs in a young person, the cause may not always be so evident. Several factors can cause young people to experience early memory loss.

Stress

A large amount of stress within a young person's life can contribute to memory loss. The UK website Mind states that prolonged stress leads to memory impairment, causing a younger person to forget things. Medical News Today reports that stress during childhood causes people to experience impaired memory and lower cognitive function. This stress-associated memory loss can, in some instances, be permanent. Sleep disturbances caused by stress or other factors can also contribute to decreased memory.

Substance Abuse

Heavy use of drugs and alcohol affects memory in younger people. Heavy drinking may lead to Korsakoff's syndrome, a form of dementia, according to the website Mind. Additionally, some legal and illegal drugs affect memory function when used repeatedly. The website Avian Web notes that drugs known as statins (for example, Lipitor) may cause a type of false dementia in younger people.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Certain substances, either created within the body or absorbed through the bloodstream from food and liquids, help the brain function properly. These nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin B12, thiamine and zinc, need to be present in a person for the brain and memory to work properly. Iodine also helps fight brain damage and needs to be part of a person's diet. For people lacking any one of these nutrients, memory loss can occur.

Trauma and Infection

In young people, whose brains are still growing and developing, any trauma or infection to the brain can be detrimental. Trauma such as falling out of trees or sports injuries can cause damage to the brain, leading to memory impairment. Infections like meningitis or other illnesses that affect the brain can cause young people to experience memory loss.

Diet

A young person's diet may lead to memory loss. Avian Web reports that diets high in soy could increase memory loss. In addition, children with a wheat intolerance known as celiac disease may have trouble with memory. Brains require 25 g of glucose in the bloodstream in order to work at full capacity, including effective memory; if a young person's diet is low in glucose, memory may be affected.