Brain Myth, #2

(Memory is the first to go)

Myth #2: Memory is the first to go.

The strongest belief about old age seems to be that it causes forgetfulness.

  • In scientific and some popular writings, the idea has persisted for years that the aging brain's neurons die off by as many as 100,000 a year.
  • Some neurobiologists have discovered that while many brain cells may deteriorate or shrink in old age, they don't necessarily disappear in great quantities.
  • Neurologists have determined that the billions of telephone-line like connections and relay switches which function as processing elements in the brain are often wearing out with age.
  • Thinking that there will automatically be a loss of memory because of old age is similar to saying that one's car is going to automatically break down at some point; however, with proper maintenance and tuneups, many will continue to function for a very long time.
-Compiled from excerpts located in "Brain Power" by Joannie M. Schrof;
U.S. News & World Report; November 28, 1994; pages 91-92.

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