Friday, 5 March 2010

Study shows older brains become more vulnerable to distraction

A series of memory tasks, carried out by three different age groups - 20-30 years, 40-60 years, and 65-87 years - while using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), showed different patterns of brain activity between the age groups, and that we become less efficient at ignoring distractions as we age.

So what can you do? By being aware that we are more easily distractible as we age, we can take steps to ensure that we focus more attentively when we want to concentrate, whether this is to help us learn something new, or to retain information better.

"Older adults should try and reduce distractions in their environment and concentrate on one task at a time. It may be as easy as turning down the radio when reading," says senior Rotman Research Institute scientist and lead study author, Dr Cheryl Grady.

It's also important to remember that what's good for the body, is also good for the brain - regular exercise, nutritious food, enough relaxation and sleep, adequate mental stimulation - all of which will enable the brain to function as well as possible in spite of possible age-related differences.

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