NOVEMBER 12, 2014

MindQuest Lecture Series presents “Unlocking the Myths of Memory” on Tues., Nov. 18

Cave Creek resident and author Dr. James Stoehr is guest speaker


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SCOTTSDALE – You walk into a room only to forget why you are there. Reason to worry about your memory? Probably not, says Dr. James Stoehr, a neuroscientist and professor at Midwestern University in Glendale. This scenario is often normal forgetfulness or distractibility. But when should we be concerned about memory loss, and are there things we can do to improve both short-term and long-term memory?

Dr. Stoehr, a Cave Creek resident and author of The Neurobiology of Addiction, will present “Unlocking the Myths of Memory” from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. on Tues., Nov. 18 at the Foothills Community Foundation’s (FCF) Holland Community Center, 34250 N. 60th Street, Bldg. B, in Scottsdale. His presentation is part of FCF’s MindQuest Lecture Series designed to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussion.

Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. with the lecture beginning promptly at 7 p.m. Complimentary coffee and refreshments will be provided, and the lecture will be followed by a question and answer session. Tickets are $20 for non-FCF members, $18 for FCF members and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at, via phone at 480-488-1090 or at the door.

One myth Dr. Stoehr will address relates to our memory capacity. “It is not limitless, and in fact, there is a finite amount of information we can store,” he says. “We probably will never approach that limit, but it is theoretically and experimentally possible.”

At what point does a forgetful memory become serious? “If forgetfulness becomes more frequent and negatively impacts your life in some way, then it is probably time to visit a health care provider,” he says.

Improving memory is possible, especially with the help of mnemonics. “Using different sensory modalities to learn the information and attaching different bits of information to the original event are also beneficial for recall,” he explains. But he is skeptical of claims of memory improvement from companies or individuals associated with for-profit endeavors. “In my opinion, extraordinary claims of clinical benefit require extraordinary evidence.  Just because it’s stated online, or even by a supposed expert, it doesn’t make it true,” he says.

Dr. Stoehr currently teaches neuroscience, psychiatry and evidenced-based medicine in Midwestern University’s College of Medicine and Health Sciences. In addition, he has written for more than 30 publications on the topics of substance abuse, memory, and health professions education. Since the completion of his five-year grant from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, he has lectured to more than 25,000 high school teenagers in the greater Phoenix area on neuroscience-related topics.

MindQuest Lecture Series has been bringing dynamic lectures to the Desert Foothills community for more than 25 years. The non-profit will take a short hiatus in December for the holidays and then resume its schedule on Jan. 20, 2015 with guest speaker Dennis Hoffman, Ph.D., who will discuss “Managing U.S. Debt.” Future guest speakers include Gerry Jones on Feb. 17, who will present “The Eagle and The Dragon: U.S. and Chinese Foreign Relations,” and Cecile Fayen on March 10, whose presentation, “A Creatively Innovated World,” will focus on fashion.

The Foothills Community Foundation is celebrating its fifth year at the Holland Community Center campus. For a full list of FCF classes, MindQuest lectures, visual arts shows, DFT theater productions and classes, Desert Awareness hikes and educational programs, and other activities, visit or call 480 488-1090.