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Aging Brain Roundup

October 7, 2005

Memory loss and hearing loss in aging adults may be closely linked.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Keeping aging brains sharp. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Two studies are giving scientists new insights into why older people may have trouble understanding and remembering things. The first, performed at Brandeis, blames poor hearing. The researchers found that the mental effort that sime older people require to hear words uses up a lot of brain power. That leaves them unable to spare the brain cells needed to understand the meaning of those words, or to store them in memory.

The other study, from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that many older people have a difficult time filtering out distractions. These distractions, again, use up brain cells that then can’t be used to process information that’s important. The findings point to new treatments that could help many people avoid cognitive loss. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.