BALTIMORE, Md. (WUSA) --- The CBS drama Unforgettable features a police detective who uses her remarkable memory to help solve crimes.
"Only a few people in the world have the ability to remember everything. I'm one of them. Pick any day of my life and I can tell you what I saw, heard, faces, conversations, clues, which can come in handy when you're a cop," she says in the opening sequence of the program.
"Yes, there are people who can remember everything and they can't forget anything at all," Dr. Majid Fotuhi told 9News Now.
He's the chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness and a professor at Johns Hopkins.
How does this memory happen?
"We don't know. That would be a great thing to know. We don't know why some people can't forget, but the part of the brain for memory is called the hippocampus and this part of the brain has a great amount of elasticity. It has the ability to grow and absorb more and more information.
"Some people have the unique ability to just store more and more information. For most of us the amount of information we can put in is not unlimited," Fotuhi said.
Is there a trade-off when one has perfect memory? Are there other parts of the brain that don't do as well as the rest of us?
"No. People who have perfect memory tend to function well in other cognitive areas as well. They just have this unique ability that their memory is perfect," Fotuhi said.
If you have a better memory or one like this woman in the program, are you smarter?
"No. Actually it's not the case that people with better memory are smarter or that they're likely to be more successful. Memory and the ability to learn things is only one part of the brain function that's important for success or for being able to get ahead in life Your ability to solve problems, the ability to do multi-tasking, your ability to be able to plan and find creative solutions to your problems, I think is more important," he said.
"Recent studies have shown that exercise can increase the part of the brain that is important for memory so if you walk one mile a day you're more likely to remember better than if you just have a sedentary lifestyle.
"The other thing that's really important is the stress reduction. If you're stressed all the time, if you have a poor sleep, you're more likely to have forgetfulness.
"So, if you want to improve your memory exercise, reduce stress and enjoy life," Fotuhi told 9News Now.
He is particularly excited at the prospects of delaying the onset of Alzheimer Disease or avoiding it altogether.
"Obesity is really bad for the brain so if you exercise, watch what you eat, reduce stress and take fish oil...If you do all those things, you can reduce the risk of Alzheimer Disease by at least 50 percent," he said.
"I think keeping your brain active is excellent advise. Use it or lose it applies to brains more so than it applies to your muscles so the more you engage your brain the stronger it will be,"Fotuhi told 9News Now.