Trying not to forget: ‘Build a Better Memory Through Science’ explores power of ‘mystical and magical’ brain

Courtesy of Inky Dinky Worldwide, Inc. Explore the latest research on memory and what steps can be taken to improve it in the documentary, Build a Better Memory Through Science.

Misplacing your keys.

Not remembering the name of a song, but it’s at the tip of your tongue.

Don’t fret; it usually doesn’t mean anything is wrong as Americans today have too much on their plates.

The documentary “Build a Better Memory Through Science” uses computer animations to clearly illustrate how memory works and ways to help maximize it.

It is hosted by ABC News Nightline co-anchor Juju Chang and features leading experts – neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists, memory trainers and others. It will air at 7 p.m. Wednesday on New Mexico PBS Channel 5.1. It will rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 10, on Channel 5.4/9.1. It is also available on the PBS Video app.

Lisa Genova is a New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist featured in the program.

Courtesy of Greg Mentzer
Neuroscientist and author Lisa Genova.

Genova graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Bates College with a degree in bio-psychology and has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University.

She has captured a special place in contemporary fiction, writing stories that are equally inspired by neuroscience and the human spirit.

Her books include “Still Alice,” “Left Neglected,” “Love Anthony,” “Inside the O’Briens” and “Every Note Played.”

Her first work of nonfiction, “Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting,” published March and is a bestseller.

Genova says forgetfulness is normal, although many associate it with Alzheimer’s.

“People always come up very fearful,” she says. “We do forget where we put our phone and things are going missing. What it boils down to for 99% of people is that we don’t pay attention. You can’t form a memory if it never enters the memory. Once they understand that, it relieves them of the fear and the shame.”

Genova says it’s important to slow down and pay attention.

“I hope that people come way feeling empowered and excited to be involved in their memory,” she says. “The brain is magical. It’s so powerful, and it can be dumb as well. It’s not designed to retain everything. The brain helps us continue to learn at any age. The memory capacity is huge, so if you can’t remember tiny details, don’t be hard on yourself.”

Genova says her journey in neuroscience began in her sophomore year in college.

“It was a class on how the brain mediates memory,” she says. “Then I read ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ by Oliver Sacks, and my life changed. The brain is mystical and magical.”

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