It's really true! - Old people (with gray hair) have bad memories, right? It's not as simple as that. A new study has found evidence that the older brain's weakened ability to filter out irrelevant information may actually give aging adults an ADVANTAGE over their younger people: It may be what's behind what we call wisdom.
Aging is associated with a decreased ability to tune out irrelevant information, which may be one of the sources of older folks' memory problems. Now scientists have discovered that when older adults "hyper-encode" extraneous information (most of the time without even knowing they're doing it), they have the unique ability to tie it to other information that is appearing at the same time.
PhysOrg.com quotes researcher Lynn Hasher as saying, "This could be a silver lining to aging and distraction. As this type of knowledge is thought to play a critical role in real world decision- making, older adults may be the wiser decision-makers compared to younger adults because they have picked up so much more information."
The Brain Heals Itself: Anne Strieber has experienced this personally and is convinced it's true. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to adapt and change through life, is being investigated by neuroscientists. In a recent Dreamland, Anne Strieber discusses a book about this by Dr. Norman Doidge (NOTE: subscribers can still listen to this show).
The Dallas Morning News neurosurgeon Jeremy Denning as saying, "The brain has the amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells. I have one patient I operated on a year ago who almost died from a hemispheric brain stroke and actually recovered from coma to hemiplegia [paralysis] to actually walking out of the hospital in 4 to 5 weeks. There are numerous studies looking at the changes that occur at the molecular level at the site of neuron connections. It is a very complex phenomenon, and we are still in the infancy of completely understanding it."
They quote neuroscientist Sandra Chapman as saying, "Our brain is one of the most modifiable parts of our whole body." For her, this means that just as our bodies need exercise in order to stay healthy, our brains do too. She says, "People in their 80s and 90s can do incredible things. They may do them a little bit slower, but they can do them at a much deeper level."
When it comes to information, we've picked up plenty of it. If you're hungry for more, listen to Anne Strieber's special interviews--just for our subscribers--with contactees.
To learn more, click here, here and here.
Art credit: Dreamstime.com
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