Navigation Links
Aging brains allow negative memories to fade

It turns out there's a scientific reason why older people tend to see the past through rose-coloured glasses.

A University of Alberta medical researcher, in collaboration with colleagues at Duke University, identified brain activity that causes older adults to remember fewer negative events than their younger counterparts.

"Seniors actually use their brain differently than younger people when it comes to storing memory, especially if that memory is a negative one," said study author Dr. Florin Dolcos, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neuroscience in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

The study, published online in December in the U.S.-based journal Psychological Science, found age-related changes in brain activity when participants with an average age of 70 where shown standardized images that depicted either neutral or strongly negative events.

The research team asked older and younger participants to rate the emotional content of these pictures along a pleasantness scale, while their brain activity was monitored with a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, a high-tech device that uses a large magnet to take pictures inside the brain. Thirty minutes later, participants were unexpectedly asked to recall these images. The older participants remembered fewer negative images than the younger participants.

Brain scans showed that although both groups had similar activity levels in the emotional centres of the brain, they differed when it came to how these centres interacted with the rest of the brain.

The older participants had reduced interactions between the amygdala, a brain region that detects emotions, and the hippocampus, a brain region involved in learning and memory, when shown negative images. Scans also showed that older participants had increased interactions between the amygdala and the dorsolateral frontal cortex, a brain region involved in higher thinking processes, like controlling emotions. The older participants were using thinking rather than feeling processes to store these emotional memories.

Dr. Dolcos conducted the study in collaboration with senior researcher Dr. Roberto Cabeza and graduate student Ms. Peggy St. Jacques, both of Duke University.

In another article published earlier this year in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, the team reported that healthy seniors are able to regulate emotion better than younger people, so they are less affected by upsetting events. They also conducted further research to look at the relationship between emotion, memory and aging.

"Seniors' brains actually work differently than younger individuals they have somehow trained their brain so that they're less affected both during and after an upsetting event," said Dolcos, a member of the Alberta Cognitive Neuroscience Group, a University of Alberta research team that explores how the brain works in human thought, including issues like perception, memory and emotion.

This research may improve understanding of mental health issues like depression and anxiety, where patients have trouble coping with emotionally challenging situations, and suffer from intrusive recollection of upsetting memories. These findings may also help to enhance memory in older adults with memory deficits, and assist with research related to dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, in which patients have difficulty with remembering personal events.


Contact: Lindsay Elleker
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Related medicine news :

1. Stanford researchers find culprit in aging muscles that heal poorly
2. Brain imaging reveals breakdown of normal emotional processing
3. Clarity Imaging International, Inc. Rolls Out Mobile DEXA Program
4. Oncologists are critical in managing psychiatric disorders in patients with advanced cancer
5. Fry Construction Selected for High-Profile Medical Imaging Project
6. September is Healthy Aging Month
7. The era of global aging: GSAs annual meeting to present new research on hot topics in aging
8. Elbit Medical Imaging Ltd. Announces Publication of a Prospectus in Israel
9. U.S. Health Initiative Targets Aging Hispanics
10. Ultrasonix Adds Global Medical Imaging Into Its North American Sales Force
11. Imaging Software Helps Track, Treat Injured Brains
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article ... Dental Association meeting in Washington D.C. revolved around the fact that proper dental care, ... The talk stressed the link between periodontal disease (more commonly referred to as gum ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... convenient way to dispense prescription medications at home, so he invented the patent-pending ... monitor and dispense prescription medications. In doing so, it could help to prevent ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the ... Table 1-1 ). More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 ... (HSV-1), according to WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Keeping in mind challenges faced by parents ... consultation, has collaborated with a leading web-based marketplace for extra-curricular activities for children ... and bring advice from parenting experts within their reach. As a part of ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., ... the incorporation of Asterisk 11 LTS (Long Term Support) into its Q-Suite 5.10 ... brings Q-Suite 5.10 up-to-date with a version of Asterisk that will receive not ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- Research and Markets ( ) has announced the ... to 2019 - Rise in Cardiac Disorders and Growing Awareness ... their offering. Boston scientific ... scientific and others. --> The market is ... Boston scientific and others. ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "2016 Future Horizons and ... Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment ... to their offering. --> ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... "Self Administration of High Viscosity Drugs" report ... has announced the addition of the "Self ... their offering. --> Research and Markets ... the "Self Administration of High Viscosity Drugs" ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: