Part of the brain 'will always be youthful'

11 August 2014

At least one part of the human brain may be able to process information the same way in older age as it does in the prime of life, according to new research.

A study conducted at the University of Adelaide compared the ability of 60 older and younger people to respond to visual and non-visual stimuli in order to measure their "spatial attention" skills, which are critical for many aspects of life, from driving, to walking, to picking up and using objects.

The studies found that older and younger adults perform in a similar way on a range of visual and non-visual tasks that measure spatial attention, explained Dr Joanna Brooks, who conducted the study as a Visiting Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology and the School of Medicine.

Both younger (aged 18-38 years) and older (55-95 years) adults had the same responses for spatial attention tasks involving touch, sight or sound, she noted.

Dr Brooks concluded: "Our results challenge current models of cognitive ageing because they show that the right side of the brain remains dominant for spatial processing throughout the entire adult lifespan. We now need to better understand how and why some areas of the brain seem to be more affected by ageing than others."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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