A team of German researchers suggests that one of the reasons why the brains of the elderly are slower compared to younger adults could be because they have stored up more information.
The study was conducted by researchers at Tübingen University who said that the brain starts to get slower as we age because it has to process through a lifetime of stored information in order to recall simple facts.
The researchers made use of a computer that was programmed to perform cognitive functions, such as learning new words and commands on a daily basis. They found that the computers that had not 'read' much was comparable to a younger brain while 'older' computers were similar to the brains of the elderly simply because it had to process through its larger database to get the information. The study has been published in the Journal of Topics in Cognitive Science.
"The human brain works slower in old age but only because we have stored more information over time. The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more. Imagine someone who knows two people's birthdays and can recall them almost perfectly. Would you really want to say that person has a better memory than a person who knows the birthdays of 2000 people, but can 'only' match the right person to the right birthday nine times out of ten?", lead researcher Dr Michael Ramscar said.