HEALTHY LIVING
03/27/2014 08:44 am ET | Updated Mar 27, 2014

Are You Forgetful? Your Genes Might Be To Blame

Peter Chadwick LRPS via Getty Images

Are you a forgetful person? You might be able to blame your genes, a new study in the journal Neuroscience Letters suggests.

Researchers from the University of Bonn have identified a variant on the DRD2 gene that seems to be associated with increased forgetfulness.

Everyone has one of two variants of the DRD2 gene, the difference is just one letter in the genetic code: Some people have the cytosine (C) variant, while others have the thymine (T) variant. The researchers wanted to see how having one variant over another was associated with forgetfulness.

To test this, they analyzed the DRD2 gene of 500 study participants, and also had the participants answer surveys about their forgetfulness (such as how often they misplaced their keys, or forgot names).

Most of the study participants -- three quarters of them -- had the thymine gene variant, while the other quarter had the cytosine gene variant. Researchers found an association between more forgetfulness problems and having the thymine gene variant of DRD2. Meanwhile, the cytosine gene variant seemed to have a protective effect against forgetfulness.

However, "there are things you can do to compensate for forgetfulness; writing yourself notes or making more of an effort to put your keys down in a specific location -- and not just anywhere," study researcher Dr. Sebastian Markett, of the University of Bonn, said in a statement.

Research has also suggested that some age groups are more forgetful than others. A recent national poll showed that millenials are actually more likely than seniors to be absent-minded with things like what day of the week it is, where they put their keys and remembering to bring their lunch.

Meanwhile, another study recently published in the journal BMC Psychology showed that men are more likely than women to experience minor memory problems.

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