Find out why it is more difficult to learn as we age.
Everyone knows that our ability to remember things gets worse with age, but do you know why?
Scientists from the Medical College at Georgia Regents University have found that it might actually be an inability to forget older memories that stop elderly people from creating new ones.
The study used mice that were genetically altered to mimic adult humans in the production of two proteins; NR2B and NR2A, which scientists think are related to making new connections in the brain.
In human adolescence, our brains produce more NR2B than NR2A and when we reach adult age, the ratio of protein production is reversed.
The mice in the experiment could form short term memories, but it was difficult for them to weaken connections that had been formed in their long term memory.
Another scientific theory about elderly people’s loss of memory indicates that it might be related to differences in sleep and naturally occurring brain atrophy.
Working with a team of researchers from several institutions including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Bryce A. Mander, a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley and the lead author of the study said:
“The analysis showed that the differences were due not to changes in capacity for memories, but to differences in sleep quality.”