Popular Myths about Brain Aging Busted

You are as young as you feel. This is no longer just a cliché used by many of us. A study by Pew Research Centre, published in 2009, shows that “the older people get, the younger they feel, relatively speaking.” What this essentially means is that the study showed that as we age, the gap between our chronological age and how old we actually feel or “felt age” grows wider. In fact, this study revealed almost 50% of the participants who were 50 years old or more reported feeling at least 10 to 19 years younger than their chronological age. And this is only the tip of the ice berg. An article published in the American Psychological Association’s magazine, Monitor on Psychology, published in April 2011, says that our math and verbal abilities as well as abstract and spatial reasoning actually improve when we reach middle age. This is not because they are taking vitamins for memory, although that might help too, but because our brain uses effective techniques to make up for some degree of cognitive decline, including using both brain hemispheres, unlike in younger brains. So what else about the brain aging do you believe?

Myths about the Aging Brain

Here’s another trivia for you – did you know that people who are bilingual are fond to experience lower levels of degenerative conditions of the brain with aging, including Alzheimer’s? Research has also proven that brain enhancement supplements, such as Prevagen, actually help improve alertness, focus and even memory? However, if you are planning to invest in brain vitamins, make sure you first read up about them and compare different products on unbiased sites like SmartPillGuide.org to make an informed decision. But even before that, you need to know the reality behind some of the most commonly held beliefs about the aging of the brain.

Myth#1: The Brain Cannot Produce New Brain Cells

For generations now, we have believed that damage to or loss of brain cells cannot be repaired. The good news is that more recent research has proven beyond doubt that some areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus, which is responsible for the formation of new memories, regularly produced new cells. In fact, studies show that even older brains continue to produce new cells, forming and reorganizing the neural connections within the brain. The best part is that you can actually help this process. Enriching activities; such as solving puzzles, learning new things, travelling and even socializing; boost the brain’s ability to generate new cells. You can also bolster the brain’s abilities with brain enhancement supplements or vitamins for memory.

Myth #2: Memory Takes a Hit as We Age

Yes, we have been seeing a rising number of elderly people succumbing to dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, this has more to do with one’s lifestyle choices and other factors, rather than the invariable fact that memory declines as we age. While genetics does play an important role in this respect, how we choose to live our everyday lives plays an equally vital role. You can ensure better brain health and prevent memory decline through regular exercise, mentally stimulating activities, a balanced diet, social contact, managing stress effectively and developing a positive outlook on life and yourself.

Myth #3: You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

A large number of studies, including research by Dr Gene Cohen, Director of the Center on Aging, Health and Humanities at George Washington University Medical Center, show that age does not impact our ability to learn. Our brain is as capable of making new neural connections (which is essentially what happens when we learn something new) when we age as it is when we are young. Of course, there is no harm in helping our cognitive abilities with the use of tried and tested vitamins for memory, such as Nitrovit, Lumonol and TruBrain..

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About Ferland Manuel

Dr, Manuel Ferland is health care specialist,