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Why We Forget To Take Our Medicine, And What We Can Do About It

Posted Apr 06 2010 3:18pm

For many people, remembering to take a daily medication can be the difference between life and death. Yet, people forget all the time. Now a landmark study from North Carolina State University has found that changes in daily behavior have a significant effect on whether we remember to take our medication – and that these changes influence older and younger adults differently. That’s good news, because it means there’s something we can do about it.

“We’ve found that it is not just differences between people, but differences in what we do each day, that affect our ability to remember to take medication,” says Dr. Shevaun Neupert, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the research. “This is the first time anyone has looked at the effect daily changes in how busy we are affects our ability to remember medications. We also learned that these changes in daily behavior affect different age groups in different ways.

“For example, young people do the best job of remembering to take their medication on days when they are busier than usual,” Neupert says. “But older adults do a better job of remembering their medication on days when they are less busy.”

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