How Thinking Changes with Aging – Episode 172
April 30, 2019
This is another 4 part series of the Rock Your Retirement show. Today’s guest host, Janet Rich Pittman is an expert on memory. So if you want to find a way to slow your brain's aging process, then you're going to love this episode. In the first of these four series, we will be discussing how thinking changes with aging. This came from the article on “How the Aging Brain Affects Thinking” of the National Institute of Aging.
Brain aging is inevitable to some extent, but not uniform; it affects everyone, or every brain, differently. Slowing down brain aging or stopping it altogether would be the ultimate elixir to achieve eternal youth. From remembering to planning, organizing and decision making, the brain is in control. As people age, though, cognitive changes typically occur; fortunately, they can be positive as well as negative.
Normal Brain Aging
As you age, there are a couple of things that are kind of normal or common: Increase difficulty in finding words and recalling names, more problems with multitasking, and paying attention as sharply as you once did. So it's difficult to hone in and concentrate.
Older individuals often become anxious about memory slips due to the link between impaired memory and Alzheimer's disease. However, Alzheimer's and other dementias are not a part of the normal aging process.
Common Changes with Aging
* Difficulty learning something new.
* Recalling names and things.
* Remembering Appointments
On the plus side, people can typically continue to learn new things, including but not limited to vocabulary and other language skills, and to create new memories. Growing amounts of evidence are showing that people can, overall, continue to adapt to new tasks and challenges as they age.
The Three Main Brain Cells
* Synapse – connect neurons to each other for conscious and subconscious communication.
* Glial cells – Are our maids of the brain, their our police, our traffic cops. They take care of business. They give us direction, focus, and they redirect and direct. When certain regions of our brain are not communicating. Our thought can't go forward because we got some weak cells in the front.
* Neurons – Is the basic working unit of the brain, a specialized cell designed to transmit information to other nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells. Neurons are cells within the nervous system that transmit information to other nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells.
Certain Parts of the Brain Shrink
With the changes in aging our brains shrink because we're not feeding it correctly. This is because we just don't use our muscles enough. The older we get we don't use it enough, we don't have that challenge that that helps us combat brain degeneration. The thing is that we should produce that strong, healthy brain cells so that we could fight that degeneration.
The changes that go into your brain is inflammation. Inflammation causes all kinds of problems not just with your brain but the rest of your body too. Over the years when we eat bad, don't get any exercise, and when we are not really using our brains to learn new things.
Protecting Your Cognitive Health
We don't really remember names because we don't actually put it in the file cabinet of our brain cells. Because we weren't really listening. We were thinking about what was going on in the room. And we didn't have an emotional attachment to that name and we didn't force ourselves to remember it.
People with more education seem to have more cognitive reserve than others. Dementia is different than normal aging.