How Aging Affects Memory
|As we grow older, a persistent worry for many of us
is "Will I start losing my memory as I age?" or "Am I going to get
Alzheimer’s as a part of natural aging?"
Scientists are still working to unlock all the mysteries of age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Yet, they do tell us that some of the things we may believe to be true about memory loss are more myth than fact.
If your brain remembered every single bit of information you’ve ever
been exposed to, it would be overwhelmed. For this reason, our brains
sort out what will and what won’t become long-term memories. How this
happens is a matter of debate among the experts; but it may be
influenced by your:
To fully understand how aging affects memory, look at natural changes in the brain and how it stores memories. With aging, the brain seems to lose cells in areas that produce important chemicals that carry information. This decrease in cells upsets the delicate balance of the chemical "messengers."
Other changes occur in the brain’s white matter of brain cells (the telephone cables) which allows cells to communicate with each other.
So, as we age, it’s not that we forget more easily, but rather that we may simply take longer to learn new information. In practical terms, this means that we may need to pay closer attention to new information in order to learn and remember. We may also need to try different strategies to improve learning and make it part of our memory.
The experts tell us that once older adults learn something (even though it may take them longer to learn it), they can retain that information equally well. Learning new things throughout your life can help keep your brain healthy!(adapted from an AARP article)
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|Kris Jenkins firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Environmental Sciencs
Last revised: 01/29/09