Science Explains Why Your Memory Gets Worse As You Get Older

The fact that our memories degrade over time is nothing new. Everyone knows that as we get older it’s harder to remember where you put your keys or parked your car. Now, one neuroscientist thinks he understands how it happens.Photo by Sue Clark

According to Michael Yassa, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University, the reason things get tougher to remember as we get older is because the pathways leading to the hippocampus degrade over the years. Since the hippocampus is where memories are stored, it makes sense that with age our brains just find it more and more difficult to process information we receive into things we remember.

In essence, it’s not that our brains are “filling up” with information; it’s just that our brains get less effective at writing and storing that information as we get older. It’s the reason, according to Yassa, why we’re so nostalgic as we get older: it’s just easier to look back on memories our brains have already stored than to create new ones that are just as vivid. At the same time, Yassa’s research doesn’t suggest how we can fix the process; only that the research could be useful in treating Alzheimer’s in the future.

That doesn’t mean you have to sit back and let the process happen though. Try building a memory palace to improve your memory, or take a look at our top 10 memory hacks for some tips to stay sharp through the years. What are some of your favourite ways to keep your memory sharp? Share your tips in the comments.

As Time Goes By, It gets Tougher to “Just Remember This” [Medical Xpress via Neatorama]

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