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Memory can be fickle. The things you want to forget, you can't. Those you want to remember, you never can.

Everyone has experienced those moments of memory lapse. You stand up to get something from another room, but then you forget what you got up for. Or you spend 15 minutes trying to remember the name of that famous actor, only to have it come to you the next morning in the shower.

In recent years, scientists have focused on memory and forgetting as they relate to Alzheimer's disease. But what about those forgetful moments that everyone gets? Those aren't necessarily signs of Alzheimer's. But how can you tell the difference?

Some Boston researchers are looking for that difference. Scientists at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Mass General have started a study that will look at how the brain ages in elderly people. They want to know what's normal aging — and what's something more troubling.


  • Dr. Reisa Sperling, principal investigator of the Harvard Aging Brain Study; Associate Professor Harvard Medical School; physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital

This segment aired on December 17, 2010.


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