Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Older Brains--Cognitive Declines, 2

Cognitive decline. Is it really a complete down-hill slide during the inevitable aging process? An article in the journal Topics in Cognitive Science reported on studies by a team of linguistic researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany. Researchers used advanced learning models to search enormous databases of words and phrases. Educated older individuals generally know more words than younger people (e.g., they’ve been around longer). This experiment simulated what the older brain must do to retrieve a word. According to lead author, Michael Ramscar, “…for the first half of the time we were doing this project, I totally bought into the idea of age-related cognitive decline in healthy adults. But the simulations fit so well to human data that it slowly forced me to entertain this idea that I didn’t need to invoke decline at all.” What does that mean to you and me? Well, when the way older brains retrieve words was incorporated into the model the so-called aging “deficits” largely disappeared. Hm-m-m. Keep stimulating your brain with challenging brain aerobic exercises!

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