How Ageing Affects Memory Function

Author: Stewart & Sudha   Date Posted:30 July 2018 

How Ageing Affects Memory Function Our ability to remember new information wanes with age. It peaks in our twenties and declines substantially in our fifties and sixties.

How Ageing Affects Memory Function

To being with, here is a brief explanation of how our memory function works within our brains. There are three main regions of the brain involved in what they term explicit memory, the hippocampus, the neocortex and the amygdala. Episodic memories are formed within the hippocampus, and later, information contained within these autobiographical memories can be transferred as general knowledge into our neocortex. This is how we learn from experiences. The amygdala is responsible for attaching feelings to memories, fear is the most important emotion attached to memories from a survival and evolutionary perspective. 

Exercise Has Been shown to Increase the Size of the Hippocampus

Our ability to remember new information wanes with age. It peaks in our twenties and declines substantially in our fifties and sixties. The hippocampus is the focus for much of the neuron activity throughout our lives. Exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, which may indicate growth in the number of neurons. The dentate gyrus is the exact location where new neurons are created within the hippocampus. Activity within this region decreases as we age. A reduction in neurogenesis may be the reason for our declining ability to remember stuff as we grow older.

One in Ten of Us Get Dementia

One in ten is the figure given for those over sixty-five who will experience dementia in their lives. Dementia is caused by abnormal proteins forming around neurons and inside them. Synapses are destroyed and the linkages which connect memories are broken. Exercise has been shown to slow down this degenerative process. Many of us know that clear headed feeling one gets after exercise or vigorous activity of one kind or another. Sedentary lifestyles are killing us, that is for sure. Get up right now and stretch, take a few deep breaths, and walk around for a bit. Make regular exercise one of your healthy habits from now on.

We Can Delay the Effects of Ageing

Memories associated with strong feelings, generally, last longer than those without an emotional link. The amygdala intensifies memory recall through involving arousing hormonal responses, like cortisol and adrenaline releases into our bodies. Memories involving grief over the loss of a loved one are clear examples of these memories with strong emotional content to them. Ageing is not something we can escape in the long term, but we can delay the effects of it upon our lives via a good diet and regular exercise. 


Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up