Some parts of the brain don't age

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Most of us know that as we age our brains slow down. But new research has revealed that some parts of the brain remain untouched by age and function as they did in our youth.

Areas of the brain don’t age at the same rate

“When we think of aging, we think not just of the physical aspects but also the cognitive side of it, especially when it comes to issues such as reaction time, which is typically slower among older adults. Our results challenge current models of cognitive aging because they show that the right side of the brain remains dominant for spatial processing throughout the entire adult lifespan. We now need to better understand how and why some areas of the brain seem to be more affected by aging than others,” explained Dr. Joanna Brooks, visiting fellow at The University of Adelaide. She analyzed the spatial attention skills of 60 older adults between the ages of 55 and 95 and the same set of skills in a group aged 18-38.

Spatial attention remains the same

Spatial attention is the ability to focus on a specific object in an environment with many visual stimuli. We use this skill daily as we drive on the freeway, walk through a crowded room or smell a cantaloupe in the produce section of the grocery store.

To test this cognitive ability Dr. Brooks blindfolded the subjects and asked them to find the center of an object. She found that all participants, no matter age, believed the center of the object was more to the left than where it actually was.

Clues to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease

This insight could lead to new directions in the treatment of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Neuroscience Conference/Brisbane

 
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