One good telltale of our real age is our mental capacity. We expect that as we become grandmas and grandpas, our intellectual performance can never be the same with its prime years.
But why does this happen? And what can we do to avoid thinking like we are old-aged already?
THE PROCESS OF AGING
Our neurons are non-regenerative. That means they do not divide to reproduce more of its kind. Once they die, they can’t be replaced with another one. As we age, these brain cells of ours start to reduce in size and in number. This reduces our ability to call to mind some things that we have learned, including those in school, and even those details when we were younger.
A neurotransmitter called acetylcholine also declines as we age. This neurotransmitter is directly involved in memory and conveying of messages from a cell to another one. Moreover, because of the stresses that we have, the hippocampus, our memory bank, diminish in function.
As we get old also, we develop plaques and tangles that accumulate between and within neurons, respectively. Plaques are proteins that mount up in between neurons while tangles are fibers that grow within the brain cells. Too much of these two are thought to kill nerve cells, like in Alzheimer’s Disease, an age-related disease.
In addition to this, substances are created as a result of our lifestyle and environmental pollution. These substances called free radicals can damage our DNA and impede the production of energy which can cause early cell death.