Brenda Lyle – Hometown News
Q: Will brain changes affect my memory as I age?
A: When we are born, our brain is about 25% of the size it will become in adulthood. Incredibly, it doubles in size in the first year and is nearly full grown by age five.
Our Working Brain
Whether a gymnast, scientist or sculptor, the anatomy of the brain is the same regardless of who we are! There are three main parts to the brain: the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brainstem. The cerebrum is divided into two hemispheres that control the opposite sides of the body: the right hemisphere controls the left side and the left hemisphere controls the right side. The “artistic” right hemisphere controls creativity and musical skills as well as spatial ability. The left hemisphere controls speech, comprehension, arithmetic and writing. Then there are the brain “lobes,” which combined with the jobs of the hemispheres, complete our brain capacity. Additionally, deep inside the brain is a glandular control center that regulates the chemistry of our bodies.
The Effects of Aging
As we age, our brains change. They begin to shrink as early as our 30’s and 40’s! Connections between neurons (synapses) also decrease, resulting in learning and memory deficits.
We generate less brain chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, which help us feel happy. All of these anatomical and chemical changes with aging can impact brain function.
The Brain and Dementia
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning (thinking, remembering and reasoning) and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia can affect a person’s ability to recognize faces, because of a disturbance in the parietal and temporal lobe of the brain. Dementias that affect the frontal lobe can create problems with speech and language comprehension. The frontal lobe, along with brain structures known as the limbic system, are responsible for our emotional response to situations and events.
Want to learn more? Call One Senior Place at 321-751-6771.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.com. Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner for One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.