Volatile memory

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Getting older doesn’t affect all parts of the brain equally—a study published in Neuron in March demonstrated some types of memory are more vulnerable to damage and disease than others. Young adults (aged 18–31) and older adults (aged 64–89) completed memory tasks while their brain activity was observed in an fMRI scanner. The older group struggled to remember whether an object was different from a similar object they’d been shown previously, but they were more successful at remembering whether the location of an object had changed. The object-recognition neural path is in an area known to be affected by Alzheimer’s disease, but the part of the brain associated with spatial memory is in a different area, which is thought to be unaffected by ageing.

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