It has been conventional wisdom that, as one ages, it becomes harder to learn new things – in part because the brain's plasticity begins to become more rigid. However, a new study contradicts this notion and has found that the key to delaying neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease may be in maintaining mental health.
The researchers started with the theory that through the proper training, a brain could retain plasticity.
"Our research has validated our hypothesis," Dr. Sylvie Belleville said in a statement. "Not only were we able to use functional imaging to observe this diversification, but we also noted a 33 percent increase in the number of correct answers given during a post-training memory task by subjects with mild cognitive impairment who, incidentally, are 10 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease."
Those who are worried that they may be suffering from memory problems may want to consider investing in a medical alarm. This can help seniors manage their medications by notifying them when to take their doses with a medical alert.
The strategy that the research team used to improve memory recall was to encourage encoding and retrieving skills through the use of word lists and mnemonics.