By Tucson Functional Medicine on June 19, 2023 0 Comments

Curve of Forgetting


On Day 1, at the beginning of the lecture, you go in knowing nothing, or 0%, (where the curve starts at the baseline). At the end of the lecture you know 100% of what you know, however well you know it (where the curve rises to its highest point).

By Day 2, if you have done nothing with the information you learned in that lecture, didn’t think about it again, read it again, etc. you will have lost 50%-80% of what you learned. Our brains are constantly recording information temporarily: scraps of conversation heard on the sidewalk, what the person in front of you is wearing. Because the information isn’t necessary, and it doesn’t come up again, our brains dump it all off, along with what was learned in the lecture that you do want to hold on to!

By day 7, we remember even less, and by day 30, we retain about 2%-3% of the original hour! This may account for feeling as if you have never seen this before in your life when you are studying for exams or Dr. T’s incessant questions 😉 — you may need to re-learn it from scratch. You can change the shape of the curve! Reprocessing the same chunk of information sends a big signal to your brain to hold onto that data. When the same thing is repeated your brain says “Oh – there it is again, I better keep that.” When you are exposed to the same information repeatedly, it takes less and less time to “activate” the information in your long-term memory and it becomes easier for you to retrieve the information when you need it.

Here’s the formula and the case for making time to review material: within 24 hours of getting the information – spend 10 minutes reviewing and you will raise the curve almost to “100% again˜. A Week later (day 7), it only takes 5 minutes to “reactivate” the same material, and again raise the curve. By day 30, your brain will only need 2-3 minutes to give you the feedback “yes, I know that…” Often patients feel they can not possibly make time for a review session every day in their schedules – they have trouble keeping up as it is. However, this review is an excellent investment of time. If you do not review, you will need to spend 40-50 minutes relearning each hour of material later – do you have that kind of time? Cramming rarely stores information in your long-term memory successfully, which makes it harder to access the material. Depending on the material, the general recommendation is to spend half an hour or so every weekday, and 1.5-2 hours every weekend in review. Perhaps you only have time to review 4 or 5 days a week, and the curve stays at about the mid-range. That’s ok, it is a lot better than the 2%-3% you would have retained if you had not reviewed it at all. Many patients are amazed at the difference regular reviewing makes in how much they understand and how well they retain the material. It’s worth experimenting for a couple of weeks, just to see what a difference it makes to you. In our never-ending search to help you retain this information and not need Dr. T anymore. On July 1, 2023, we will be moving to ZOOM for ALL of our Functional Medicine visits. We will be recording these sessions and uploading them to Dropbox. We will be providing you with a link to access your lectures. You will download the recorded lectures and then using the above schedule review the information – to lessen the forgetting curve.


Most of my patients already take this option. 90% of my patients are already using ZOOM for all of their visits with Dr T.

If you are new to ZOOM we have prepared a sheet with all the information to get you up and running in a matter of minutes.

ZOOM is very easy to use. It is just the unknown of using it the first time. Our ZOOM sheet will smooth this transition.

As the Bob Dylan Song says:

“The Times They Are A-changin”

American life is changing. We are becoming a more “virtual” society. Don’t you do most of your shopping online now?? Amazon? So we must change to meet the needs of the ever-changing American population that want to use their computers for EVERYTHING! Join me on this new venture in the Functional Medicine World.


Functional Medicine is Health Care 2.0

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