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Aging Memory Learning

a. Brain chemistry and memory and learning

b. Nutrition/Environment and memory and learning

c. Disease and memory and learning

When it comes to aging and memory, it is important to remember that a certain degree of memory loss is “a normal part of aging…it even has a name – age-associated memory impairment (AAMI)” (Adderly 60). There are two primary reasons why we aging is responsible for the onset of memory loss. The first reason deals with the increased demands, stresses, and interruptions we face as we age. The second reason deals with the chemical changes that occur as we age which have an impact on our brains, causing both a decrease in speed and accuracy of mental functions (Adderly 60).

Memory and learning are intricately associated processes. Aging also brings with it a reduced capacity for learning, especially when it comes to learning via memorization and other mental processes known to become less efficient and effective as one ages. In fact, learning difficulties in old age stem primarily from impairment in mental function among processes linked with memory “Several cognitive functions decline in aging, including speed of processing and episodic memory” (Backman, et al, 635). Thus, learning and memory are closely associated and are affected by aging, environment, and disease.

Brain chemistry plays an important role in reduced learning and memory abilities in individuals. Aging, the environment (i.e., nutrition), and disease all affect the brain chemistry in individuals which is responsible for normal mental functioning. Aging affects brain chemistry. Like our metabolism naturally slows each decade we age, so, too, our brain chemistry is naturally altered as we age “From early to late adulthood, decreases in striatal dopaminergic function average 6%-10% per decade” (Einstein, et al, 678). Of course, these alterations may be from other factors than the act of growing older as man...

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