Are the brains of older people slow because they know so much (?!)

People may gradually decline mentally with age or… even improve it exercising it. ‘Use it or lose’ the old adage says. Losing memory may not be so. It just takes longer to recall facts, names and other information because we have accumulated more information in our brains, scientists believe. Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so, too, do humans which take longer to access information when their brains are full or sluggish.

Furthermore, the information we have not used for long time (languages in year 11 and 12 of High School, or other) are well stored away by our brain in an almost inaccessible compartment of my memory. Sometimes we need a ‘little help’ from a friend that tells us an old story; or listen to a particular song of yesteryear; or see a ‘family picture’ which will jog our memories of that particular event and all of the sudden the doors of that little compartment are like a dike flooding our ‘hard and soft disk’ of revival.

Nevertheless, the information we use daily or weekly is almost always available to our memory retreival and the meanings of it. Eg. the computer commands that if we do not use within 3 or 6 months we forget what they are for.

Researchers say this slowing down process is not the same as cognitive decline.The human brain works slower in old age, said Dr. Michael Ramscar from the University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

But Dr. Ramscar says ‘it’s 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!


Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for.  It is NOT a memory problem, it is nature’s way of making older people do more exercise!!!

Therefore, now when we reach for that word or a name that are stuck ‘on the tip of our tongue’, excusing ourselves with embarassment by saying ‘SorryI’m just having a senior moment’. In the contrary, I think we should say with pride, ‘My disk is full’ – Apart from you I have more friends than I want to send this article to, but… right now I can’t remember their names!…. damn it!

So, please be a good sport, help my memory and yours too, by forwarding this link to your friends; which they may be my friends too….

Finally, your take home message/question is: Are you exercising your brain with due frequency and intensity today?  A friendly piece of advice: Languages are better than tsudoku or crosswords.



About toporod

Triple Rugby Union International (1977-1991) The ART of SCRUMMAGING - 2013 Gold Medal Winning Author - [IPPY] - 2014 Silver Medal Winner [eLit Awards] - Enthusiastic writer on Rugby and Bipolar Disorders - International Rugby Consultant and Public Speaker -
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