How Neuroplasticity Changes With Age?
What is neuroplasticity? Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This process is essential for learning and memory.
However, neuroplasticity declines with age. Studies have shown that the brain’s ability to form new neural connections starts to decline in early adulthood. This decline accelerates as we get older.
There are several possible explanations for this decline in neuroplasticity with age. One theory is that the decline is due to a reduction in the number of neurons (nerve cells) in the brain. As we age, we lose neurons through a process called apoptosis (cell death).
Another explanation is that the myelin sheath (a fatty substance that surrounds and protects nerve cells) begins to break down with age. This breakdown makes it more difficult for nerve cells to communicate with each other, which can lead to a decline in neuroplasticity.
Finally, it’s also possible that the decline in neuroplasticity with age is due to changes in neurotransmitter levels. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells. As we age, the levels of some neurotransmitters (such as dopamine and serotonin) decline, which can make it more difficult for nerve cells to communicate with each other and lead to a decline in neuroplasticity.
While the decline in neuroplasticity with age is a natural process, there are things you can do to help slow it down. Regular exercise has been shown to help preserve neuroplasticity, as has a healthy diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil). Cognitive training and stimulation (such as puzzles, memory games, and reading) can also help preserve neuroplasticity and keep your brain sharp as you age.