It's something we just accept: the fact that the older we get, the more difficulty we seem to have remembering things. We can leave our cars in the same parking lot each morning, but unless we park in the same space each and every day, it's a challenge eight hours later to recall whether we left the SUV in the second or fifth row. Or, we can be introduced to new colleagues at a meeting and will have forgotten their names before the handshake is over. We shrug and nervously reassure ourselves that our brains' “hard drives” are just too full to handle the barrage of new information that comes in daily.
According to a Johns Hopkins neuroscientist, however, the real trouble is that our aging brains are unable to process this information as “new” because the brain pathways leading to the hippocampus — the area of the brain that stores memories — become degraded over time. As a result, our brains cannot accurately “file” new information (like where we left the car that particular morning), and confusion results.