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  • Intelligence and Aging: Staying Ahead of the Curve

    The brain is an incredibly complex organ, which evolves and changes constantly as we go through our lives. Scientists have yet to fully understand much of how the brain actually works. One thing they do know, is that the hippocampus, which is essential to the function of memory, starts to shrink in size around the age of 55, by approximately 1-2 percent annual. Additionally, one in nine individuals over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease. It is a terrifying fact to confront – as we age, our intelligences comes under attack. The question is, is there anything we can do about this?

    Exercising your Mind

    Brain training has developed in a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States of America. This idea behind brain training is a simple one. We exercise the muscles in out body to make them stronger, why don’t we do the same thing for our brains? Scientists are now exploring the effectiveness of just that. A recent study held by the BBC and Cambridge University, returned some interesting results.

    Practicing specific mental exercises does make you better at completing those specific tasks. For example, practicing your multiplication tables makes you better at multiplication. But does this actually make you more intelligent? For the younger participants in the study, the results were rather inconclusive. For test subjects ages 60 and above, the results were a little more interesting.

    Following six weeks of brain training, these subjects saw an increased ability in verbal reasoning. This was particularly exciting, because the area of the brain associated with verbal reasoning skills may be closely linked to those associated with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.

    No definitive conclusions were drawn from the BBC and Cambridge University study, however scientists do recommend that individuals stay active, while keeping their brains engaged in complex tasks, even as the age. This need not involved anything as exhausting as dedicated mental training. Read the newspaper in the morning. Socialize with friends. Listen to music. All of these activities may help individuals combat the effects of aging on the brain.

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