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"Why would a teenager have memory loss?"


My daughter is 16 and she seems to be suffering from some kind of memory loss. She often falters in the middle of a sentence and says that she just can't remember the words she's looking for. It seems that her grades are starting to suffer, too. What should we do? Help!


Memory loss is a concerning symptom at any age. I would strongly encourage you to have your daughter evaluated by a doctor. If she has a pediatrician, she should see that doctor.

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If not, either a pediatrician or a primary care physician can be helpful. Memory is a complex process. It requires a healthy body in total: The brain, kidneys, liver etc, must all work in order for mental function to be optimal. Therefore there are many potential problems that could be occurring. In young children, brain problems itself are relatively rare -- however can occur. Any other abnormal process in the body can cause what is called "toxic/metabolic" encephalopathy. This means the brain does not function normally. This is when the body is not functioning optimal so the brain does not work well. The more common problems include: (1) Infection -- this can be anywhere such as blood, urine or lungs. (2) Elecytrolyte abnromalities--which can be caused by kidney or hormonal problems. Thyroid problems can cause this. Diabetes is another "hormone" problem that should be ruled out. (3) Toxins can also cause this. Although a difficult subject, drugs such as marijuana and cocaine should be investigated. There are many other problems that should be ruled out. See a doctor.

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