Older people 'lose ability to learn from experience'

Posted on 25 May 2011

Older people are less able to learn from new life experiences than they used to be, a study has shown, which could affect those with long term care plans.

Nerve cell circuits in the prefrontal cortex of a young person's brain 'rewire' when they learn from new experiences, but the brain loses the ability to do this as it ages, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

A Mount Sinai team studied young, middle-aged and older rats and found the brain structure changed less in middle-aged animals and more so in the older models.

Study leader John H Morrison said: "We suspected that these nerve cells would be altered by age, but the loss of synaptic plasticity in the context of life experience has profound implications for age-related cognitive decline."

In other news, research published in journal Archives of Neurology found that the prevalence of dementia rises sharply in older seniors.

Posted by Nigel Murphy

 

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