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Mar 2016

Aging and Memory - March 2016



As published in: New Jersey News Volume 1, issue 1 February 1, 2016

Age is Only a Number
“I feel younger than I really am.”

Often, there is a discrepancy between how old a person is and how old that person inherently feels. In the following interview, Dr. Ashok Patel, Medical Director of the Memory and Aging Center of New Jersey, discusses the science behind this age-old perception.

How do most people perceive their age?
Most people over 50 believe themselves to be five to ten years younger than they really are.  People over the age of 70 generally believe that they are thirteen years younger than their real age.

Is there a psychological reason for this perceived age discrepancy?
Well, some people believe that the perception of our bodies develops when we’re about five to seven years old. This means that prior to the age five, we don’t have significant memories of ourselves. So, for instance, at forty years of age, it might feel like you’ve known yourself for thirty-five years. That’s how old you feel.

Does feeling younger help you feel better?
For the most part, yes. In many studies conducted throughout the United States and Europe, people who feel younger than their true age consistently reported higher qualities of life than those who felt older. In one article, Isla Rippon and Andrew Steptoe used data from a large aging study to examine the relationship between self-perceived age and mortality. The study found that those that felt at least three years younger than their biological age had a lower death rate than those that felt a year older or more.

For more information, the Rippon and Steptoe study can be found in the December 2014 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine

PIONEERS IN DEMENTIA - Dr. Alois Alzheimer

Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, the German physician that first studied the disease. In1906, he noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of what was thought to be an unusual illness. Abnormal clumps, now called amyloid plaques, and tangled fibers (neurofibrillary tangles) abounded in the patient’s brain tissue. Today, these plaques and tangles are considered hallmarks of AD.

Alzheimer’s disease usually begins with plaques in the hippocampus,  the part of the brain essential
to the formation of memories.

As more neurons die, these plaques and neurofibrillary tangles gradually appear in other parts of the brain. Although treatment may temporarily delay the appearance of symptoms in some people with AD, there is currently no medication that cures this devastating disease.


20 Hospital Drive, Suite 12, Toms River, NJ 08755
p: (732) 244-2299       f: (732) 244-5757

Dr. Ashok Patel established the Memory and Aging Center of New Jersey to provide specialized treatment and support for those affected by memory loss, in our local community and beyond.

Our current studies look at memory problems in Alzheimer’s Disease, behavioral symptoms and Agitation in Alzheimer’s Disease. Visit our website or contact us for more information.

Amyloid Plaques

Amyloid is a common protein found throughout our bodies. In the brain, amyloid proteins are deconstructed and recycled. When this process fails, in some form, leftover pieces of amyloid protein (beta-amyloid) coagulate and create plaques—”sticky” substances that can cause inflammation and trigger immune responses that degrade cells. Amyloid plaques are found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and other diagnoses (mild cognitive dementia, for instance), and in asymptomatic brains as well.