Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Part of brain stays as active in old age as it was in youth

Date:
August 7, 2014
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
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. "Our studies have found that older and younger adults perform in a similar way on a range of visual and non-visual tasks that measure spatial attention," says one researcher. Spatial attention is critical for many aspects of life, from driving, to walking, to picking up and using objects.

"Our studies have found that older and younger adults perform in a similar way on a range of visual and non-visual tasks that measure spatial attention," says Dr Joanna Brooks, who conducted the study.
Credit: © haveseen / Fotolia

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 conducted at the University of Adelaide.

Related Articles


A study 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.

Spatial attention is critical for many aspects of life, from driving, to walking, to picking up and using objects.

"Our studies have found that older and younger adults perform in a similar way on a range of visual and non-visual tasks that measure spatial attention," says 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.

"In one task, participants were asked to feel wooden objects whilst blindfolded and decide where the middle of the object was -- participants' judgements were significantly biased towards the left-hand side of the true object centre. This bias is subtle but highly consistent," Dr Brooks says.

"When we think of ageing, we think not just of the physical aspects but also the cognitive side of it, especially when it comes to issues such as reaction time, which is typically slower among older adults. However, our research suggests that certain types of cognitive systems in the right cerebral hemisphere -- like spatial attention -- are 'encapsulated' and may be protected from ageing," she says.

Dr Brooks, who is now a Research Fellow in Healthy Ageing based at the Australian National University, recently presented her results at the 12th International Cognitive Neuroscience Conference in Brisbane. Her project is part of an international collaboration with scientists at the University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University in Scotland to better understand spatial attention in the human brain.

"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," Dr Brooks says. "We now need to better understand how and why some areas of the brain seem to be more affected by ageing than others."

Dr Brooks' research could also be helpful in better understanding how diseases such as Alzheimer's affect the brain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "Part of brain stays as active in old age as it was in youth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140807121450.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2014, August 7). Part of brain stays as active in old age as it was in youth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140807121450.htm
University of Adelaide. "Part of brain stays as active in old age as it was in youth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140807121450.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) — Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
One Dose, Then Surgery to Test Tumor Drugs Fast

One Dose, Then Surgery to Test Tumor Drugs Fast

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Phoenix hospital is experimenting with a faster way to test much needed medications for deadly brain tumors. Patients get a single dose of a potential drug, and hours later have their tumor removed to see if the drug had any affect. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Bedtime Rituals For a Good Night's Sleep

The Best Bedtime Rituals For a Good Night's Sleep

Buzz60 (Jan. 22, 2015) — What you do before bed can effect how well you sleep. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has bedtime rituals to induce the best night&apos;s sleep. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins