Older minds work like computers to process memories

Published 9:06 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I don’t remember names as well as I used to,” I said. Then I added, “Shoot, I don’t remember anything as well as I used to!”
As we age, we all develop those pockets of forgetfulness, or in my case, those Grand Canyons that have me scratching my head and going back over and over so that I can remember the name of that song, or the name of that child that just walked in the sanctuary of the church.
I think there is something called a mental block. A mental block is a temporary inability to recall a name or other information that should be more easily retrievable. Sometimes I think it’s more of a mental “lock” that is my problem.
Anything mental is locked, like a door. Nothing gets in and nothing gets out.
Thankfully, I have a good excuse. What the world needs now are those good excuses.
Politicians have good excuses when they mess up. “I didn’t know about that,” they say, simply.
Here is my excuse for not remembering as well as I used to. It’s a doozy of an excuse.
According to a study (don’t you like that phrase?) out of a German university, “Elderly people’s brains are slower because they have stored up more information.” Let me translate.
If you are having trouble remembering, please don’t think that something is wrong with your brain. You simply have filled your noggin up with so much information; it has to take more time to sift through all that vast knowledge you have, so you can answer the question, “What did I have for breakfast?”
Doesn’t that make you feel better? Let me put it another way. You’re not forgetful, you’re simply too doggone smart for your own good. You are a genius. You just can’t remember it.
Dr. Michael Ramscar, from Tubingen University in Berlin says that “the brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more.” I like him even though I have never met him.
Now I can throw away that string that I tie around my finger as I go to the store.
The study says that my mind is like a computer that has been filled up with all kinds of knowledge and when searching for an answer or name or something, it just takes a little more time to go through all that is in my head.
This study, of course, does have its detractors. Even though I like the gist of the study, I am at odds with some of its findings. For instance, the suggestion that my mind is so full is suspect.
I remember the MRI that I had last year on my brain. I was having a little problem with dizziness and a neurologist wanted to take a gander at my noodle; he wanted to look at my brain.
He said the report was conclusive. “There is nothing up there.”
Alas, my problem has returned. Either I am so full of it (knowledge) that my computer software is slow, or something is wrong with the hardware. In any case, I think I need a re-boot.

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