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Multi-tasking Can Hurt Your Memory

Multi-tasking Can Hurt Your Memory

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NBC's Stephanie StantonFor many people, juggling too many things at once is standard practice. But did you know that multi-tasking can actually make you stupid? A new study shows that multi-tasking can hurt your memory and short-circuit your brain power!

Over-worked, over-whelmed, Americans are busier than ever. In this age of info-mania, technology tempts us.

"At work I'm on email and answering the phone and doing everything at the same time."

But new studies have shown the more we juggle, the less productive we become. Multitasking can make you forgetful, anti-social, even lower your IQ. Dr. Gary Small is a memory specialist at UCLA.

Dr. Gary Small, U.C.L.A. Memory Specialist: "When we're multi-tasking, we don't focus our attention so information never gets into our memory stores and so we think we don't remember we just never learned the information to begin with."

Multitasking puts stress on the brain and can actually shrink memory receptors. Michele Rubin, a 46-year-old mother of three, started having trouble with her memory four years ago.

Michele Rubin, Memory Patient: "I'd be talking and my husband would say, 'Who stars in that?' and I would say, 'Oh that's...' and I couldn't bring it up like I used to."

The doctor put her on a 14-day plan: diet, exercise, relaxation and memory techniques. He taught her how to focus on one thing at a time.

Dr. Gary Small, U.C.L.A. Memory Specialist: "After two weeks on the program her scores were about average for a woman in her mid 20's and in a way her brain had become 10 years, 20 years younger."

Dr. Small says not all multi-tasking is bad, just use moderation. To boost your memory eat a diet rich in anti-oxidants and boost your intake of omega three fatty acids commonly found in fish like salmon.

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