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The Aging Brain: 7 Ways to Boost Its Power

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The Aging Brain: 7 Ways to Boost Its Power

By Eliza Thomas, Experience Life

Scientists once believed brainpower peaked at early middle age. Now they know better. In a January 2006 Time magazine article, writer Jeffery Kluger reported that recent studies have shown that far from slowing down during the course of a lifetime, the aging brain begins to use new cognitive systems and to cross-index existing ones in new ways.

At UCLA, for example, neurologists studying myelin, the fatty sheath of connective tissue that helps conduct nerve signals throughout the brain, have found that myelin development peaks in healthy adult brains between the ages of 45 and 50. The scientists postulate that this may allow older brains faster processing and information-retrieval speeds than younger brains, whose myelin stores have yet to fully mature.

In fact, older brains operate quite a bit differently than their younger counterparts, according to neuroscientist Roberto Cabeza, PhD, associate professor of psychology and brain sciences at Duke Universityís Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. He found that older brains increasingly use both the left and right hemispheres of the prefrontal cortex in tandem, rather than working independently of each other, like younger brains do. While Cabeza speculates that this phenomenon may be a trick the brain uses to compensate for age-related cognitive decline, the integration of the hemispheres can sometimes become so efficient that the older brainís reasoning and thought processes operate better than ever.

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Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

60 comments

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12:16PM PDT on Jul 16, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

4:02PM PST on Jan 4, 2013

Great post--thanks.

6:52PM PST on Nov 26, 2012

Thanks.

11:16AM PDT on Mar 17, 2012

Thank you

4:56AM PDT on Mar 17, 2012

Thanks for the article.

11:23PM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

Yep, I'm smarter than I ever was. Doctor told me when I got older I would have wisdom and I didn't have to do anything to get it. I'd just have it.

Two reasons, I didn't like that:

1. The implication! Was he calling me a dumb A--?
Grrr

2. Was he depriving me of any participation in the coming one day wisdom? I want some credit!!!!

Be happy.

12:03PM PST on Nov 13, 2010

Thanks

2:06PM PST on Feb 9, 2010

Each day we can become faster, stronger, smarter, and wiser.

Remember that as you sit down to decay.

5:04AM PST on Feb 6, 2010

"Use it or lose it" applies to the brain also. Keep challenging yourself.

6:33PM PST on Feb 1, 2010

thank you, very informative

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Thank you for the article.

Nelson Baker Nelson Baker
on Why Do Cats Purr?
18 minutes ago

Interesting,thanks :)

Thanks for sharing.

thank you for sharing

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