How Concentration Capabilities Change As We Age

Changes in brain activity that begin gradually in middle age may explain why older adults have a harder time with concentration in busy environments, and are easily distracted by irrelevant information.

This news comes from The Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest and the University of Toronto, where scientists compared brain function in young, middle-aged and older adults, and found significant differences between concentration abilities in old and young people.

The study’s findings add to the growing belief by scientists that two regions in the brain’s frontal lobes gradually shift into a “seesaw imbalance,” which causes older adults to become less efficient at blocking distracting information than young people are.

Starting in middle age (40-60 years), this seesaw pattern begins to break down during performance of memory tasks. This imbalance becomes more pronounced in older adults (age 65+), which could explain their reduced ability to ignore distracting or irrelevant information.

One Suggestion: Try to reduce distractions in your environment and concentrate on one key attentional task at a time. It may be as easy as turning down the radio when reading, or staying off the cell phone when driving a car.

Discover how a customized Optiminds “brain fitness” program can help you slow the aging process. Call us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: And be sure to visit our website at to learn more about us.


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