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Older people 'less able to respond to experience'

Older people 'less able to respond to experience'
25th May 2011

The ability to learn from life experience declines as ageing occurs, according to a new study.

Researchers from Mount Sinai investigated the brain structure in the prefrontal cortex and found that it changes less due to life experience.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that nerve cell circuits in younger animal brains are much more adaptable and change in response to learning from life experiences.

However, in middle aged and older rats, the brain structure changed less, indicating that the brain cannot be rewired in the same way in older people.

"We suspected that these nerve cells would be altered by age, but the loss of synaptic plasticity in the context of life experience has profound implications for age-related cognitive decline," said study leader John H Morrison.

In other news, one expert has commented that older drivers are the safest motorists on UK roads.

Peter Rodger, chief examiner of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, has said that the notion of older drivers being unsafe is "inaccurate".

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