Our understanding of our brain and how it functions has developed with the availability of technology. Today we know that your brain probably isn’t what you thought it was!
For centuries available technology led us to believe that the brain was considered to be a fixed, genetic inheritance. The human brain was thought to be a passive receiver and distributor of information. And it was believed that we didn’t generate experience-dependent brain cells much past our early twenties. That meant that for most of us we couldn’t make new memories or learn as we got older. To make matters worse it was believed that cognitive capabilities of the human brain begain to decline after the age of thirty.
That changed in the 90’s with the availability of new technology.
In the late 90’s it was proven that humans continue to generate experience dependent brain cells throughout life (neurogenesis), that the human brain is not a fixed genetic inheritance, but that it’s constantly changing in response to what you do or don’t do (brain plasticity).
All of this made it obvious that the human brain was not a passive receiver and distributor of information, but an active user of the information it received. It meant that we can continue to make new memories and learn throughout life and that aging doesn’t cause cognitive decline. You can teach an old dog new tricks.
Why then do we have memory problems as we get older? Why is learning so much more difficult? Why is cognitive decline considered to be the result of aging? And why isn’t cognitive health and ability the concern of people of all ages and not just older adults? What does age have to do with cognitive ability? Finally, can we regain and retain cognitive health at any age?
That’s what this website and blog are all about! If you have any comments please let me know.