Normal And Abnormal Memory Loss: How The Aging Brain Changes

The Huffington Post Canada  |  By Posted: 03/20/2012 2:03 pm

It's said that with age comes wisdom, but according to a study out of the Yale School of Medicine, the wisdom to handle multiple tasks can get muddled with age.

“The aged brain seems to get lost in transition,” said Mark Laubach, the senior author of the study that appeared in last week's issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Using rats, Laubach’s team studied the impact of age on the memory used for handling daily tasks -- the kind of memory that lets you remember that tonight's roast is cooking in the oven while you go reply to an email. The team discovered that the prefrontal cortex of older rats -- the region that rats and humans use to handle working memory -- reacted at a slower pace to signals that a reward was available. The younger rats on the other hand, reacted nearly immediately.

For humans, delays in the prefrontal cortex can take the form of memory lapses which affect many on a daily basis. Things like forgetting to pick up the milk after grocery shopping is fairly commonplace, but forgetting that you went to the grocery store in the first place can be a signal that you may need to see your doctor.

Baycrest, a long-term senior care institution, provided The Huffington Post Canada with a list that signals the difference between normal and abnormal memory lapses. Do you ever worry about your memory? Let us know in the comment section below or share with us on Twitter @HuffPostCaLiv.

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  • Normal: Trouble Remembering Acquaintances

  • Not Normal: Trouble Remembering Loved Ones

  • Normal: Getting Lost In Unfamiliar Places

  • Not Normal: Getting Lost In Frequently Visited Places

  • Normal: Forgetting An Item Or Two

  • Not Normal: Forgetting You Went To The Store In The First Place

  • Normal: Not Knowing The Exact Date

  • Not Normal: Not Knowing The Exact Year

  • Normal: Using The Same Story Or Joke On Different Occasions

  • Not Normal: Repeating The Same Joke In The Same Conversation

  • Normal: Forgetting Small Details When Retelling a Story

  • Not Normal: Forgetting The Main Idea Of The Story

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