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Older brain 'too full' for new memories

Posted on Monday, 28 January, 2013 | Comment icon 26 comments

Image credit: Andrew Mason

Age-related learning difficulties could be attributed to the fact that we simply run out of memory space.

Neuroscientists at the Medical College of Georgia conducted research which suggested that the brain of an older person is just as capable of creating strong synaptic connections as a younger person. Instead, the problems with memory as we age are more to do with our inability to weaken existing connections to free up the capacity for new ones.

"What our study suggests is that itís not just the strengthening of connections, but the weakening of the other sets of connections that creates a holistic pattern of synaptic connectivity that is important for long-term memory formation," said study author Dr. Joe Z. Tsien.

"Learning becomes more difficult as we age not because we have trouble absorbing new information, but because we fail to forget the old stuff, researchers say."

  View: Full article |  Source: New York Times

  Discuss: View comments (26)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #17 Posted by King Cobra 1408 on 8 February, 2013, 3:27
i don't buy it nor believe it
Comment icon #18 Posted by Frank Merton on 8 February, 2013, 3:45
Comment icon #19 Posted by AquilaChrysaetos on 8 February, 2013, 4:08
One of Scientist Rupert Sheldrake's theories concerning memories is that the brain does not store memories, but simply "streams" them so to speak, and that they are actually part of a higher, possible spiritual construct. After all, there is no real proof supporting that memories are even stored in the brain in the first place. We've recorded activity in the brain when one creates or recalls memories, but no proof or evidence of them actually being stored. I'm not saying that Sheldrake's theory is true, I'm simply saying that it's certainly not outside the r... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by WoIverine on 8 February, 2013, 4:24
I was reading something a few days ago stating that our actual DNA can hold the equivalent of huuuge sums of data. I've always found the whole sci-fi "ancestral memories" encoded into DNA theories pretty interesing.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Frank Merton on 8 February, 2013, 4:33
Um it seems to me that the fact that brain injuries often interfere with memory and that disease processes like Alzheimer's Disease destroy memory indicates that the assertion that there is no proof supporting that memories are stored in the brain is false.
Comment icon #22 Posted by AquilaChrysaetos on 8 February, 2013, 4:52
The question actually is whether or not the memory itself is being destroyed, or whether it's the brain's processes that allow the retrieval of memory to be destroyed. There have been many many cases with Alzheimer's patients where they're able to retrieve some old memories for a short time, (sometimes from a trigger object) despite that they are usually incapable of remembering those events. It supports the possibility that it's simply the brain's inability to retrieve these memories instead of the memories themselves being destroyed. Therefore as I said, there is no... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by Frank Merton on 8 February, 2013, 4:55
You are really stretching things to hold onto what seems to me a vain wish. The evidence is plain enough.
Comment icon #24 Posted by AquilaChrysaetos on 8 February, 2013, 5:11
The same could also be said to your statements my friend. Your's just happen to be the much more popular belief.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Render on 8 February, 2013, 10:45
Which is why an external or implanted memory like chip will become a reality in time. ( it already is in existence but not used because ppl are of course afraid of everything, until they notice they'll be using their superiority if they don't evolve with the world).

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