Do certain parts of the brain stay young?

July 29, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—New research at the University of Adelaide is looking at how the human brain ages, which could lead to insights into how to repair the brain when it's damaged by stroke or traumatic brain injury.

The study, being conducted in the University's School of Psychology, will compare the ability of older and younger people to respond to visual and non- in order to measure their "spatial attention" skills.

"Spatial attention is extremely important in our day-to-day lives because it allows us to move around our environment and interact with other people," says Dr Joanna Brooks, Research Fellow in the University's School of Psychology.

"Being able to process spatial information can impact on many aspects of our lives, from driving, to walking down the street, or simply picking up a glass of water from a table.

"The part of the brain that controls spatial attention is called the right parietal lobe. We're hoping that our study will shed light on how the right parietal lobe ages across the entire human lifespan," Dr Brooks says.

"Young people aged between 18-40 often show a tendency to pay more attention to the left side of space on a range of . We have recently found some evidence that perform in the same way as younger adults, which suggests that the part of the brain that controls spatial attention – the right parietal lobe – remains 'young' throughout the full human lifespan."

The University of Adelaide project is part of an with scientists at the University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University in Scotland to better understand how the brain ages.

Dr Brooks says researchers still have many questions about what happens in our brains when they age, how quickly they age, and what factors contribute towards it.

"One of the big questions is: is there a part of the brain that is protected from ageing? We hope to discover more in this study," she says.

Related Stories

Distinct 'God spot' in the brain does not exist

April 19, 2012

Scientists have speculated that the human brain features a "God spot," one distinct area of the brain responsible for spirituality. Now, University of Missouri researchers have completed research that indicates spirituality ...

Older adult clumsiness linked to brain changes

June 4, 2013

For many older adults, the aging process seems to go hand-in-hand with an annoying increase in clumsiness—difficulties dialing a phone, fumbling with keys in a lock or knocking over the occasional wine glass while reaching ...

Recommended for you

Neural efficiency hypothesis confirmed

July 27, 2015

One of the big questions intelligence researchers grapple with is just how differences in intelligence are reflected in the human brain. Researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in studying further details relating to suspected ...

Your phone knows if you're depressed

July 15, 2015

You can fake a smile, but your phone knows the truth. Depression can be detected from your smartphone sensor data by tracking the number of minutes you use the phone and your daily geographical locations, reports a small ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.