Category Archives: Aging

A Cheeky Daughter

Between my daughter and me 🙂

Lauren and Daddy Exchanges

 

baby bunny

Do brain games work?

Source: NYTimes, Mar 2014

over the past two decades, studies on animals and humans have found that the brain continues to form new neural connections throughout life.

In January, the largest randomized controlled trial of cognitive training in healthy older adults found that gains in reasoning and speed through brain training lasted as long as 10 years. Financed by the National Institutes of Health, the Active study (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly) recruited 2,832 volunteers with an average age of 74.

The participants were divided into three training groups for memory, reasoning and speed of processing, as well as one control group. The groups took part in 10 sessions of 60 to 75 minutes over five to six weeks, and researchers measured the effect of training five times over the next 10 years. Five years after training, all three groups still demonstrated improvements in the skills in which they had trained. Notably, the gains did not carry over into other areas. After 10 years, only the reasoning and speed-of-processing groups continued to show improvement.

Naps

Source: Lifehacker, Sep 2013

Exercise Works Magic

Source: Scientific American, Aug 2013

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Lifelong Exercise Improves Long-Term Cognitive Health

Source: King’s College (London), Mar 2013

The study found that regular intensive lifelong exercise as a child and adult improved cognitive functioning at the age of 50 and that even exercise of a lower frequency could offer benefits for cognitive well-being.

The study found that participants who exercised weekly as a child and as an adult performed better on tests of memory, learning, attention and reasoning at the age of 50 than those who exercised two to three times per month or less.

Test-taking May Improve Learning in People of All Ages

Source: American Psychological Association website, Mar 2013

Older adults who haven’t been in school for a while are as capable of learning from tests as younger adults and college students, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

No matter their age or if they work or go to college full time, people appear to learn more when tested on material, rather than simply rereading or restudying information, according to research published online in the APA journal Psychology and Aging®.

In this experiment, adults of various ages improved their retention of new information just as much as college students if they were tested on the material and received feedback on their scores, rather than just restudying the materials, according to the article. The improvement was significant and comparable to the college students’ improvement, even though the college students performed better on the initial test.

“Both groups benefited from the initial testing more than the additional studying. Taking the test and then being told how many answers they got wrong or correct was enough for these adults to improve their memory of the material as shown in a final, more difficult, test,” said Meyer, who conducted the research with co-author Jessica Logan, PhD, at Rice University.

Aging Does Not Impair Decision Making

Source: Yahoo, Dec 2012

Healthy aging adults show no decline in decision-making – Older decision-makers were as logically consistent as younger decision-makers. Increased age alone — from the early 50s through the late 70s — was not a key factor in predicting impaired decision-making capacity.

Strategic learning capacity may actually increase with ageAll three age groups were comparable as strategic learners. Those in their 70s performed at least as well as the 50s age group on a cognitive measure of strategic learning. All groups performed similarly when asked to filter the most relevant information from the extraneous.

Strategic learners are less likely to fall victim to bias toward riskier options – Participants who performed well in sifting important information on the strategic learning measure, a tool used by researchers, made more logically consistent financial decisions. Those who performed poorly on strategic learning were less logically consistent and showed more bias toward riskier choices resulting in potential financial gain or loss.

Conscientious decision-making intensifies with age – A self-assessment revealedolder decision-makers were more conscientious (i.e., careful and organized) than those in the younger age group.

Risk tolerance can be linked to cognitive ability Overall, men and women performed equally at logically consistent decision-making and at strategic learning. In both men and women, strategic learning proficiency was associated with the ability to make logically consistent (risk averse) decisions.

There were differences between men and women in the relationship between decision-making and traditional measures of cognitive function – Men with average cognitive function demonstrated the highest risk-seeking (lowest logical consistency) in decision-making of any group. Men in the superior cognitive range were the most conservative followed by women in the average cognitive range. Decision-making and what impacts risk-aversion and risk-seeking are of particular interest since women become the lead decision-makers later in life due to loss of spouses and longer life spans.