Our brain can effectively combat effects of ageing
Old age may slow down memory and other physical and cognitive skills, but the brain has the remarkable potential to reduce these effects, a study has found.
In order to process the information that we receive every day, our brain builds categories into which we sort everything that makes up the world around us. The study found that this process of categorization changes as we age, the brains of elderly struggle to categorise and rapidly switch focus from one to another. “Older people find it harder to switch from one strategy to the other,” said Sabrina Schenk, neuroscientist at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum (RUB) in Germany. But, their brains compensate by paying more attention to detail than younger adults, the study said. While the young adults spread their attention wide and gather information from different sources, the elderly focus their attention, looking more at detail, the researchers explained.
“To a certain extent, the brain is able to slow down negative effects of ageing by increasing its level of attentiveness,” Schenk added. In the study, the participants were asked to sort circles with varying colour combinations into one of two categories. Some of the circles were very similar to each other; others were distinctly different.