Love on the Brain

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What was it about Claudia’s brain that made her forget our entire conversation? Is her inability to remember my response affected by a specific part of her brain? I pondered as she asked me, “What is your favorite subject in school, darling?” for the sixth time in our fifteen-minute conversation. “Don’t tell me that it is PE,” the elderly woman lightheartedly said with a smile on her face.

Knowing she would not remember my answer, I replied, “My favorite subject is lunch,” which made her laugh as she playfully hit my arm.

As a member of Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy, one of the objectives was to plan, organize, and participate in a Do Good December project, in which my group and I decided to go Christmas caroling at a nursing home. Before singing the Christmas carols, I had the chance to visit with the residents of the hospice, in which I met a lovely woman named Claudia, whom I found out within the first few minutes of conversation suffers from dementia.

When we began singing, I noticed that Claudia was singing right along with us. How could she remember all the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” yet not my favorite school subject? What is the connection between memory loss and the brain? How does the brain decide which memories to store...

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