A fascinating article from the NY Times on the plasticity of brains as we get older (ie. the ability of our brains to keep learning and growing). It seems that new science on the subject is remarkably upbeat:
The brain, as it traverses middle age, gets better at recognizing
the central idea, the big picture. If kept in good shape, the brain can
continue to build pathways that help its owner recognize patterns and,
as a consequence, see significance and even solutions much faster than
a young person can.
The trick is finding ways to keep brain connections in good condition and to grow more of them.
brain is plastic and continues to change, not in getting bigger but
allowing for greater complexity and deeper understanding,” says
Kathleen Taylor, a professor at St. Mary’s College of California, who
has studied ways to teach adults effectively. “As adults we may not
always learn quite as fast, but we are set up for this next