miércoles, 23 de marzo de 2016

Talking point: Memory lane

This week's talking point is memory. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.

Do you have a good memory or have you got a memory like a sieve?
What methods do you use to help you remember things? Choose from the list below.
lists - repeating information to yourself - 
mobile phone reminders - making up a story - 
associating words with pictures - 
putting up reminder notices
When you forget something, what are useful ways to jog your memory?
Have you ever had problems with forgetfulness?
Have you ever had an embarrasing experience because your mind went blank?
What can a person do to improve their memory?
How has your memory changed compared to 10 or 15 years ago?
What is old people's memory like?
What kind of music, smells or tastes brings back memories for you?
What is your earliest memory?
Have you ever been a witness to a crime or a serious incident? If so, was it difficult to remember all the details?
Which of these things help you best to recall past events? How and why?
music - smells - photographs - objects - 
tastes - talking to family and friends

To illustrate the topic you can watch this video about memory and old age.

Will I lose my memory when I get old?
Your brain is shrinking. Well if you're over 30 it is. After that, on average, you lose a bit less than 0.5 percent of your brain volume every year. Reach ninety and you may have lost over a third of your hippocampus, the seahorse-shaped bit of the brain vital for making memories, and you’ll have said goodbye to 14 percent of your cerebral cortex, the grey matter  responsible for useful things like thinking, emotions and speech. Worse still, scientists used to believe the adult brain’s fixed and unable to change like concrete. So losing some was a serious matter.
In 2000 researchers began to investigate a group of London taxi and bus drivers. The bus drivers trained for six weeks and then rode the same routes every day, whereas the taxi drivers had trained for up to four years memorizing some 25,000 streets. The researchers took MRI scans of both bus and taxi drivers but it was the cabbies' brain that showed something incredible: Their brains contained far more gray matter in the back part of the hippocampus than the bus drivers.
Here is what scientists think was going on. Inside our brains are trillions of synaptic connections, chemical and electrical impulses, that transfer messages between the body and the brain like millions of cabbies taking millions of patrons to different destinations. In memorizing and using their mental matter, the cabbies’ brains adapted and changed creating more synaptic connections. So it turns out the brain isn't like concrete but more like putty or plastic, able to adapt to our demands. Scientists call this adaptability neuroplasticity. This new discovery is great news because while you might not be able to stop your brain shrinkage it seems you can compensate by building new connections if you stay mentally active, challenging your brain like a London cabbie.
To discover more about your plastic brain go to you www.hellobrain.eu.