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Stanford psychologists investigate why some older adults remember better than others

Four older adults gather around a table and look at a photo album

Image credit: Getty Images
Jun 3 2020
Fellow, Research, Stanford, Students

Even among healthy people, a faltering memory is often an expected part of aging – but it’s not inevitable.

“Some individuals exhibit remarkable maintenance of memory function throughout late adulthood, whereas others experience significant memory decline. Studying these differences across individuals is critical for understanding the complexities of brain aging, including how to promote resilience and longevity,” said Alexandra Trelle, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University.

Building on studies that have focused on young populations, Trelle and colleagues are investigating memory recall in healthy, older adults as part of the Stanford Aging and Memory Study. In new research, published May 29 in eLife, this team has found that memory recall processes in the brains of older adults can look very similar to those previously observed in the brains of young adults. However, for those seniors who had more trouble remembering, evidence for these processes was noticeably diminished.

Additional Stanford co-authors include Marc B. Harrison, a 2017 EDGE-SBEH Fellow and EDGE Mentor.