Is It Possible for My Brain to Improve with Age?

Brain health
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Aging has some benefits for your brain.

When you think of aging, you likely envision declining health and bodily functioning.

Maybe you think of broken hips, sore joints, and weakening vision.

Although general health for many people declines with age, there are some areas where you may find improved functioning.

No, really.

According to a recent Money Talks News article titled “2 Ways Your Aging Brain Actually Improves Over Time,” one area you may find improvement is brain functioning.

Brain health may improve with age.
It is possible to improve brain functioning with practice as you get older.

Recent research from Georgetown University Medical Center published in the journal Nature Human Behavior indicates age tends to improve concentration on priorities and on gathering novel information.

The study looked at three components of executive functioning and attention in 700 individuals.

What were these three components?

The first was alerting.

Alerting was defined as being a state of preparation and vigilance for responding to incoming information.

The second is orienting.

Orienting was defined as directing resources from the brain to a particular location in space.

The third is executive inhibition.

Executive inhibition was defined as the process of focusing on important information by filtering out conflicting or distracting information.

According to the co-author of the study João Veríssimo, these processes are constantly in use throughout our days in experiences like driving.

Although the study of individual ages 59 to 98 found alerting abilities tended to decrease with age, executive inhibition and orientation tended to improve.

These latter functions of the brain are connected to memory, self-control, decisions-making, math, navigation, reading, and language.

Research indicated inhibition and orienting are likely to improve with age if they are practiced.

In contrast, alerting capabilities were not shown to improve with practice.

This study provides both hope and encourages taking action to benefit your brain.

Anecdotally, this research lends scientific credence to a maxim I was taught in my pilot training some 30 years ago in W. Germany: “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots. But there are no old, bold pilots.”

Food for thought, yes.

Reference: Money Talks News (Sep. 6, 2021) “2 Ways Your Aging Brain Actually Improves Over Time”

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