According to a recent international study, with age, learning is becoming increasingly difficult due to reduced ability to filter out old memories.
In the hippocampus, the brain contains a "switch", consisting of subunits NR2A and NR2B — NMDA — receptor that improves memory and learning. NR2B in large amounts in children, which allows neurons to work a little longer and form stronger bonds or synapses. After puberty the ratio changes and produces more NR2A.
"When you're young, your brain is able to fix some communication and weaken others, to acquire new memories — said study co-author Dr. Joe Z. Tsien of Georgia Regents University in a press release. — Unless your synapses become stable, then you will never get rid of interfering or unnecessary information, and it becomes a problem. "
Jiang's team studied genetically modified mice with a predominance of NR2A and fewer NR2B, ie, with the same ratio of the subunits, as an adult. The mice are formed strong synapses and short-term memories, but their ability to model information was below the animals were less able to weaken synapses and develop new long-term memories.
"The unusual is the ability to mitigate the existing relations," — said Jiang.
Such changes in the adult brain may contribute to the phenomena often seen in elderly people who get lost on the way, as well as adults who can not get rid of his accent when learning a new language.
"We know that we lose the ability to perfectly speak a foreign language, if we study the language after puberty — said Jiang. — I can learn English, but from my Chinese accent is very difficult to get rid of. The question is why. "
The study was published in Scientific Reports January 8.
Category: People, psychology, health