PDF Brain Power: Improve Your Mind as You Age

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A friend of mine asked me how best to remember names. Having faced the problem myself possibly, a familial trait I could not think of a suitable answer immediately. This however, was going round the hurdle and not even attempting to clear it. So, I did some thinking, reading and surfing.

Here are some interesting facts, myths and food for thought.

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Let's first look at how we remember. Acquisition - New information enters your brain along pathways serving the special senses mostly —seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, experiencing and feeling. Consolidation-If you have concentrated well enough to encode new information in your brain, the hippocampus sends a signal to store the information as long-term memory.

Retrieval - When you need to recall information, your brain has to activate the same pattern of nerve cells it used to store it. The more frequently you need the information, the easier it is to retrieve it along healthy nerve cell connections. Clearly not everyone ages in the same way. Reaction time is slower and it takes us longer to learn new information. Sometimes it takes longer to retrieve information, resulting in that tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon — where you almost have that word or that thought.

There is a good reason why our memories start to let us down. At this stage of life we are steadily losing brain cells in critical areas such as the hippocampus - the area where memories are processed.

This is not too much of a problem at first; even in old age the brain is flexible enough to compensate. At some point though, losses start to make themselves felt. Brain processing speed slows down. Faced with new information, we often cannot master it as quickly as our younger peers. There are, in fact, some brain functions which improve with age! We actually grow smarter in key areas in middle age which, with longer life spans, now stretches from our mid 40s to our mid to late 60s. In areas as diverse as vocabulary and inductive reasoning, our brains function better than they did in our 20s.

Lumosity Brain Training: Challenge & Improve Your Mind

Even our judgment of others improves. We also get better at knowing what to ignore and when to hold our tongues. By midlife our brains have developed a whole host of talents that are, in the end, just as well suited to navigating the modern, complex workplace. As we age, we get better at seeing the possible. Younger brains, predictably, are set up to focus on the negative and potential trouble.


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Older brains, studies show, often reach solutions faster, in part, because they focus on what can be done. There is a continued improvement in complex reasoning skills as we enter middle age. Myelin is the insulation wrapped around brain cells that increases their conductivity — the speed with which information travels from brain cell to brain cell. Empathy increases as we age. Research has shown that in fact the brain never stops changing through learning.

They were told then to practise doing online searches for an hour a day, for seven days.

5 Simple Ways To Sharpen Your Brain As You Age

The scans revealed significant increases in brain activity in the areas that control memory and decision-making. The area of the brain that showed the increases was the frontal lobe, the thinking brain, especially in areas that control decision making and working memory. With practice, a middle-age brain can very quickly alter its neuron-circuitry; can strengthen the neuron circuits that control short-term memory and decision making. The ability of the brain to change with learning is what is known as Neuro-plasticity. Consider your brain a muscle and find opportunities to flex it or exercise it.

In fact, anything that stimulates the brain to think is exercise for the brain. The exercise can come in the form of reading, doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, meditation, playing scrabble, starting a new hobby or new language. Even playing Bingo has shown improved memory and hand eye coordination in the elderly — besides they have something to look forward to, which can be a rarity among some elderly! The human brain is able to continually adapt and rewire itself. Even in old age, it can grow new neurons.

Severe mental decline is usually caused by disease, whereas most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. In other words, use it or lose it. Let me now try to answer the question I posed at the beginning — how to remember names and numbers.

Train your mind frequently by repeating to yourself anything you need to remember as quickly as you learn it. This is very useful especially when remembering phone numbers and dates. Repetition is a simple system on how to improve memory power, but it works even for long term memory. Repeat a phone number several times, for example, and you should remember it for a short while. Recall it after 7 seconds to store it in memory. Let the paper remember for you.


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Variety and curiosity is the basis. When anything you do becomes second nature, you need to make a change. Reiki River Relaxation CD. Description Reviews 0 Description Virtually everyone fears mental deterioration as they age. About the Authors: Michael J. Paperback, pages. Published December 13, isbn Reviews There are no reviews yet. Add to cart. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.