How to improve memory after ruptured aneurysm/surgery

Poor memory is really my most serious symptom/struggle in recovery. I'm wondering what other people have found out and done to help in that recovery. I've read exercise is the most effective way to combat memory loss due to age. Is it the same for ruptured aneurysm and having had those metal surgical instruments invading to get to the place and clip the bleeding? I have seriously picked up my exercise (personal trainer) and it makes me feel good. I'm wondering if it will help my brain heal and work better.

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Do any of you use for brain exercise? Does it help, do you think?

Hi Lleni,

CONGRATULATIONS for suviving your rupture! I, too, am a rupture survivor (actually a double rupture), and I initially had a horrible memory. After 28 days in ICU, way too much morphine, and a couple of weeks of R and R, I went to a family function where my little nieces and nephew played a game with me. It was "We're going on a picnic and we're bringing something that begins with A, and the next round was we're going on a picnic and we're bringing something that begins with A and B, etc." They would not give in or give up. The nuttier the item, the better. We played for hours. The next day the kids quized me on the items from the game before. My memory was not great, but the kids acted out the items to remind me, and then we played again. It was then I realized I needed professional help. I went to occupational therapy and worked on memory with the occupational therapists. We also worked on "executive functions" which taught me some great coping skills. I practiced and practiced. My memory got much better. My biggest problem was trying to find the word I wanted. My brain would think the word, but my mouth couldn't say it (this was from my stroke). Practice really helped. The kids and I played word games over SKYPE, which helped me feel their love and encouragement!

By Thanksgiving, my whole family played "I'm going on a picnic..." and I did much better.

Please be patient, give yourself time to get those synapses in your brain firing again, and practice!

The best advice I can give you is to SLEEP. Sleep allows the brain down time to heal. If you're not sleeping well, then talk to your doctor about some medication.

Also walking around your neighborhood helps those synapses to fire...the walk itself, and the normal brain activity to see what's changed since the day before.

Good luck, and please let us know how you're doing.


Brain exercise such as Elke, Jo, and Julie indicated will help you. Physical exercise will do so as well especially with balance issues. Keep in mind that surgeons cannot prevent neurological damage simply because they don't know precisely where everything is stored - just generally. Each little cut or slice severs a neuron connection so it needs to reestablish itself and does so over time.

I am 16 months out of a bleed, stroke & brain stem resection. My memory is affected & has definitely improved by playing scrabble against myself for many hours over the course of 8 months. I have gained more stamina, general feeling of well being and better balance from light circuit training. Learning to cook again is a struggle & the Internet/you tube is indespinsible if you forget how to cut an onion (like i did daily) or anything else! I tried luminosity for only a week & I didnt give it long enough to see a big change. It takes patience & time for the brain to heal.

Stress is an enemy. It causes the brain to malfuction, speaking, hearing, physical balance, etc. To battle stress, be aware of it's triggers. You will recognize them once the the stress starts, then stop what your doing. Ask yourself what is it that caused my stress. Educate, re-asset, gain control. Stress affects your memory.

Physical exercise is good, walking is the best exercise.

After my clip in 2010 and the physical pain let me do more than just sit or stay in bed. I started playing Mahjong which was already on my laptop. I spent hours everyday and it helped.

Then I started gaming, on the xbox360 live with people around the world. I kept getting kicked cause I was so bad. I took a month offline and played one game, till I was ready and still play today, many different games.

How does this help memory? First your brain is two havles that make up the whole brain. The game controller requires two hands. Use of the left and right sides of your brain. It helped my brain rewire itself. Then again playing video games are not for everyone.

Maybe knitting, sewing, other handcrafts or any less demanding two-handed safe activity.

That's the next thing learning something new. Maybe something from your childhood you used to like to do that you gave up doing will help with your memory. My paints and brushes still wait for me.

I also have Superficial Siderosis, which affects my memory daily. I have notebooks that I write down things I want to learn about. Everything from learning the meaning of a new word to things in the news that I find interesting.

I hope your life is filled with happiness.

What a wonderful story. Family is so wonderful. That gives me great hope. I had been sad that I didn't think I could do that memory game with my granddaughter, the one where you turn over cards and remember where they are and try to make pairs. Maybe I can and maybe she and I can develop together. She is almost old enough to play so maybe we should get started.

What a lot of good ideas and suggestions. I think I should reread these posts every few weeks. I'll give many a try. Like many of you, I love to go for a walk. And I have a once a week session with a physical trainer. It has been instructive and a bit funny. I approached it with some trepidation. The trainer also works with my son-in-law and was actually his high school football coach. I figured that would be a bad, perhaps dangerous, choice for me. So when I interviewed him, I said, "I'm old. I've just had a ruptured brain aneurysm and brain surgery, and I don't want a heart attack. Can you work with that?" He said he could and he has been true to his word. He has built up the activity very slowly and carefully, watched me like an eagle and backed off or changed things up when he spots any sign of something going wrong. I think he is more aware than I am of when it is necessary to back off. Once it got by him and I had a bit of a memory lapse that panicked my daughter. My son-in-law reamed him out. It was very unfair because it wasn't his fault. I was just going full tilt and enjoying it and there was no way that either of us would have expected repercussions.

And I have started using Lumosity. It is way too soon to tell if it will help, but it is rather fun. One game I think should be particularly beneficial requires you to attend to objects that appear briefly in 2 different areas of the screen. Many times, I just plain don't see the 2nd object. I think that will make me a safer driver. And I think it might also help me in dealing with my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter. She is here, there and everywhere and I need to be able to attend to her at the same time I'm doing something else like putting snack on the table for her, for instance. she is a wonderful spitfire of a kid and will certainly help me develop I'm sure.

Lleni, I had speech therapy and yes lots of brain teasers and cross words puzzels. Also, yes exersice helps. I would also recommend belly dancing (just don't roll your head and go slow), Tia Chee and Chee Qoung. I also tried yoga but I can't bend over to much so that might not work for you. I also brought a brain teaser book and use lots of brain teaser games on line. If you can try reading. My favorite thing that I can't seem to do anymore. My concentration is off. Lots of prayers coming your way. Amy

You can't read because of your eyes or your concentration? How about a novel that you really love? I find I can't take a novel with too many characters, especially ones that come and go. I'm getting pretty enthused about Lumosity. I've done 6 sessions and I've played a couple of the games just because I think they are useful--field of vision specifically. It has you attend to 2 things at once that show briefly on the screen.

I've been trying to build up to the idea of playing Words with Friends which I'm told is a lot like Scrabble. Maybe I'll get to it. I'm just a year out and mine was in the circle of Willis, posterior communicating artery. I've been looking at pictures. It means they had to cut through and clamp aside my frontal lobe and temporal lobe on the right side. At least that is what I can deduce from photos online.

H Lleni, yes, I too have noticed a considerable downturn in my memory since my aneurysm clipping a couple of years ago. I find that doing quizzes/crosswords etc. regurlarly helps me. I do an online quiz and crossword every morning, to get my brain kick-started, and I go to a local pub quiz with friends at least once a week. I am not entirely sure if it's a memory issue, or if it is more to do with focus/concentration, as I am still struggling to read a book entirely, when before my surgery I used to read one or two books per week. Good luck :-)