(NaturalNews) Although the conventional wisdom would have us believe that people's memories naturally deteriorate as they get older, age-related memory loss is not found in all cultures around the world.
Indeed, new research suggests that all memory loss is a sign of brain damage, even in patients who are not suffering from clinical dementia.
In a study published in 2010, researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago gave 350 Catholic clergy members yearly memory tests for 13 years, then scanned their brains after death.
They found that the brains of patients who died without ever experiencing memory loss showed no signs of Alzheimer's disease or strokes.
Based on this data, the researchers suggested that all memory loss is a sign of brain damage, most likely early-stage dementia.
"What we're saying is the brain changes that are mainly responsible for Alzheimer's and other dementias also seem to be mainly responsible for very mild early changes in memory and thinking," researcher Robert S. Wilson said.