How to Train the Aging Brain

Posted by admin on Jan 04, 2010 - 12:29 PM

I've lamented that my memory isn't as sharp as it used to be, given stress, lack of sleep, and daily distractions, but this article gave me hope of changing all that. The NY Times health editor and author of the upcoming book, “The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain,” explains how to grow new neural connections and refresh old ones, no matter what your age.

Brains in middle age, which, with increased life spans, now stretches from the 40s to late 60s, also get more easily distracted. Start boiling water for pasta, go answer the doorbell and—whoosh—all thoughts of boiling water disappear. Indeed, aging brains, even in the middle years, fall into what(tm)s called the default mode, during which the mind wanders off and begin daydreaming.

Given all this, the question arises, can an old brain learn, and then remember what it learns? Put another way, is this a brain that should be in school?

As it happens, yes. While it•€(tm)s tempting to focus on the flaws in older brains, that inducement overlooks how capable they(tm)ve become. Over the past several years, scientists have looked deeper into how brains age and confirmed that they continue to develop through and beyond middle age.

Many longheld views, including the one that 40 percent of brain cells are lost, have been overturned. What is stuffed into your head may not have vanished but has simply been squirreled away in the folds of your neurons.

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