Our Ageing Brain
Like many older people I’ve been interested and a little apprehensive about what happens to our brains as we age. I’ve just read a book called “Our Ageing Brain” by Andre Aleman and I can recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject.
I’ll attempt to sum up what he says in the book.
Memory decline starts at age 20 but between 60 and 70 declines more rapidly. The speed of information processing, powers of concentration and the ability to switch between ways of thinking also decline.
Older people perform better in general knowledge and vocabulary tests.
People aged 60 and over are happier than between 20 and 40. A positive attitude to ageing has a greater impact on health than physical activity, smoking or obesity.
People aged over 70 can suffer from feelings of depression, more than the middle aged.
Older people have more insight into complex social situations.
Between the ages of 50 and 80 the volume and weight of the brain decline by 10%.
Older people use the front and back and right and left sides of the brain to compensate.
Age is the most important risk factor for dementia. 1% of 60 year olds, 7% of 75 year olds and 30% of 85 year olds are sufferers.
There is no effective treatment for dementia but medication and support can slow it down.
Hormones play a crucial role as we grow older.
Growth hormones could have a positive effect on memory and concentration but can give health problems.
Physical exercise keeps the mind sharp as do memory and concentration exercise.
There is no medication that can improve memory.
Vitamin B12 and Omega 3 can lead to improvements.
People who have done brain work all their lives have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
People who exercise regularly have an even smaller risk of Alzheimer’s.
Older people are wiser. They can draw on a substantial database of knowledge and experience. They take fewer risks in financial decision making. The ageing brain works slower, responses are therefore more sensible.
The oldest and healthiest people in the world are from Okinawa , Japan. They eat little saturated fat, sugar and salt.
We should drink 1.5 litres of water a day.
Reading books is a very good way to keep your brain active.