“The brain: if you cultivate it, it works. If you let it go and retire it, it weakens. Its plasticity is formidable. This is why we have to keep thinking. “
Bye! In this article I would like to explain to you what happens to the brain as we get older. Which abilities are maintained and which ones decline.
Like all other components of our body, the brain also ages over time. Between 35 and 75 years in the absence of brain pathologies. Our brain can lose up to 10% of its weight.
In the aging brain there are numerous changes that affect the cells that make our brains work: for example. The connections between neurons degenerate. The neurons themselves are replaced by cells that are “replacement” but which are not as efficient.
Before explaining what happens in the normal aging of a person’s brain, I would like to talk to you about two forms of intelligence that will help us understand how our brain ages: fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence .
Fluid intelligence allows you to adapt to new situations , new problems and the construction of inferences . This type of intelligence includes skills such as reasoning, logic, working memory, and processing speed.
L ‘ crystallized intelligence relies, instead, on the knowledge and skills acquired by experience , which is closely related to culture.
While fluid intelligence depends more on biological and physiological factors, crystallized intelligence depends on cultural and experiential factors.
For this reason, the two types of intelligence follow two different trajectories with aging: fluid intelligence undergoes a decline while crystallized intelligence remains stable or even increases.
These researches allow us to state that normal aging does not imply a weakening of the cognitive system in a global sense. But affects some skills more than others.
Only in old age does the decline become more generalized, proceeding parallel to an aging of the body.
There are therefore a number of cognitive functions that are compromised by normal aging of the brain. Here are some of them.
In general, the elderly show difficulty in cases where there is a substantial amount of information to process especially. When there is a time limit. As I explained earlier, replacement cells are not as efficient as neurons.
One of the cognitive functions that deteriorates with aging is processing speed , which is the ability to perform cognitive tasks quickly, processing information quickly.
Other skills are those of logic and reasoning or those skills that allow us to grasp relationships between elements and solve problems.
Working memory is the memory system that allows you to keep information active in order to carry out more complex mental operations. For example, we use working memory when we need to memorize a phone number before dialing it on the keypad. It too deteriorates with aging along with alternating attention (kind of attention that allows you to quickly switch from one task to another).
There are instead some skills that are maintain in aging:
- – Knowledge of words
- – Semantic memory : the part of memory that deals with maintaining general knowledge about the world
- – Procedural memory : that is the part of memory that allows us to remember how to ride a bicycle or how to tie your shoes
- – Selective attention : the ability to keep attention on a specific task.
I would like to conclude by mentioning that normal aging of the brain does not lead to dementia. It is not that as we age we inevitably encounter dementogenic pathologies. Of course, our brain ages as does the rest of our body but, thanks to the 10 rules for healthy aging, we can keep our brain in training and ensure that it remains “young” for longer, thus maintaining a better functioning.
- – Individual cognitive enhancement: I can help you enhance your cognitive skills through exercises designed and specifically tailored to your needs;
- – Cognitive rehabilitation : in the case of already existing cognitive deficits, after an evaluation, we will build together an intervention strategy to achieve goals that are relevant to you and your family. At the same time, where possible, the remaining skills can be upgrade;
- – Group cognitive stimulation : in this case the exercises are carried out in small groups in order to train the brain but also promote socialization.
If you need any clarification write me, I will try to answer you as soon as possible. If this article was useful to you, leave me a comment and / or share it!
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