Author Topic: Brains of older people are slower 'because they have stored up more information over time'  (Read 337 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2542894/Brains-older-people-slower-stored-information-time.html

Brains of older people are slower 'because they have stored up more information over time'

    Scientists at Tübingen University, Germany say, older brains aren't weaker
    Instead believe they are just slower due to years of stored up information
    Say many tests used to determine brain power of elderly favour the young

By Lizzie Edmonds

PUBLISHED: 16:09 EST, 20 January 2014
Older people's brains are slower as they have more stored information, scientists have found

Elderly people's brains are slower because they have stored up more information, researchers have said today.

Scientists from Tübingen University in Germany believe the human brain works slower in old age as it has to process a lifetime of stored-up information to recall simple facts.

They say their research proves instead of being weak - older brains are in fact more powerful.

The team used computers to study cognitive development in age.

They programmed a computer to learn new words and commands on a daily basis by 'reading' - much like a human would learn.

The researchers said cognitive tests  conducted on a computers which hadn't read much were comparable to the brains of a young adult - but those that read more were more like an elderly person's.

The 'older' computer was certainly slower, researchers said, but only because its database had grown and it was having to process more information.

They said their findings also explain why older people are often more forgetful.

Dr. Michael Ramscar from the university said: 'The human brain works slower in old age but only because we have stored more information over time

'The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more.'

Speaking with the Telegraph, the scientist added: 'Imagine someone who knows two people’s birthdays and can recall them almost perfectly.

'Would you really want to say that person has a better memory than a person who knows the birthdays of 2000 people, but can ‘only’ match the right person to the right birthday nine times out of ten?'

The study was published in the Journal of Topics in Cognitive Science.

In the study, the team remarked that certain tests used to determine older people's mentality regularity favour the young.

Certain cognitive tests favour young people who do not have so much 'stored' information, the study found

In one particular test, called 'paired associated learning', people are asked to remember pairs of random objects.

The scientists say this test is more difficult for older people - as, over their lifetime, they have learned the two objects never go together and so struggle to remember them as a couple.

Prof. Harald Baayen, who heads group who conducted the research added: 'The fact that older adults find nonsense pairs harder to learn than young adults simply demonstrates older adults’ much better understanding of language.

'They have to make more of an effort to learn unrelated word pairs because, unlike the youngsters, they know a lot about which words don’t belong together.'

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Offline Rapunzel

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My latest health magazine came Saturday and had an article about this, I was going to scan it and then saw this tonight in the Daily Mail.  The health magazine went into a little more detail - for instance we need to do things that are not routine so the brain keeps firing on all cylinders and learning new things.  One thing that stood out was reading novels is actually a very good exercise for the brain... something we read a week or so ago about how school-aged children who read novels actually perform better in school (and yet Common Core is dropping novels for government documents  :shrug:).........  I'll try to scan and post the article I have tomorrow.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline EC

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Yes please!  :laugh:

I find memory fascinating. My dear aunt (she's a tad over 100 now!) tried to explain why she sometimes gets lost when we are talking on the phone. I'll say something and it triggers a whole bunch of memories and she has to sort through them to find the one she wants. Funny thing is, 5 minutes of talking together and, despite having lived in Canada since 1946, she's back to a broad Yorkshire accent  :laugh:

Often wondered if much of the problems we associate with dementia aren't simply someone wandering into their memoris and getting lost - like trying to clean out the attic. You keep finding things you had tucked away and forgotten. Take them out and look at them, give them a bit of a dust, and before you know it hours have gone by and the attic still isn't clean.
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Offline Rapunzel

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“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline Oceander

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Yes please!  :laugh:

I find memory fascinating. My dear aunt (she's a tad over 100 now!) tried to explain why she sometimes gets lost when we are talking on the phone. I'll say something and it triggers a whole bunch of memories and she has to sort through them to find the one she wants. Funny thing is, 5 minutes of talking together and, despite having lived in Canada since 1946, she's back to a broad Yorkshire accent  :laugh:

Often wondered if much of the problems we associate with dementia aren't simply someone wandering into their memoris and getting lost - like trying to clean out the attic. You keep finding things you had tucked away and forgotten. Take them out and look at them, give them a bit of a dust, and before you know it hours have gone by and the attic still isn't clean.

It may not be so much a matter of getting lost because you stopped to dust something off, so much as not being able to find one's way back because the ability to convert short-term memory into long-term memory has become worn with age, resulting in older, well-defined memories being a lot stronger than new memories, strong enough to override them.


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