Women Over 50—Big Time Brain Power
In her book about women’s second adulthood, Inventing the Rest of Our Lives, Suzanne Braun Levine provides us with some exiting data concerning the aging brain. Dr. Francine Benes, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has discovered that there is a growth spurt that takes place in the human brain around the age of fifty. Myelin, which is the fatty layer that covers nerve fibers, actually grows about fifty percent during this time. This coating is responsible for aiding the brain to more effectively synthesize life experiences and to enhance the ability to make thoughtful judgments and prudent decisions.
Even better, the location of this growth spurt is found within the area of the cerebral cortex that is identified with emotional learning. Perhaps, as Levine suggests, this myelin growth factor may likely play a part in creating the highly revered trait we call wisdom.
So, next time we search for our car keys, call our son by the dog’s name, or forget to tell our husband his boss phoned, we have to remember that somewhere in our noggin there’s a whole heap of wisdom going on!