加载中…
个人资料
十年磨刀
十年磨刀
  • 博客等级:
  • 博客积分:0
  • 博客访问:2,225
  • 关注人气:0
  • 获赠金笔:0支
  • 赠出金笔:0支
  • 荣誉徽章:
相关博文
推荐博文
正文 字体大小:

[E-C] The Ageing Brain -- Wisdom or Senility

(2010-06-08 09:26:30)
标签:

杂谈

分类: 英译汉习作

    The Ageing Brain -- Wisdom or Senility

    老化的大脑——智慧或衰老

    From The Economist print edition, Feb 16th 2006

    摘自《经济学人》印刷版,2006年2月16日

    Understanding how the brain ages could help to slow deterioration

    理解大脑如何老化,有助于减缓大脑的退化

    At what point does an ageing mind become a liability and not an asset? The answer depends on what that mind is asked to do. If the task requires a wealth of knowledge and experience, then the elders have it. If the job needs sharp and fast thinking, youth triumphs.

    一个老化大脑由资产转变成债务的临界点在哪里呢?这取决于你要求大脑做的事情。如果任务要求丰富的知识和经验,那么年长者占有优势。如果工作需要敏锐和快捷的思维,那么年轻人获得胜利。

    The inherent differences between people mean that a quick-witted 60-year-old can outperform a slow-minded 25-year-old in tasks at which youth should prevail. But, in general, from the age of 20, you can see a decline in a person's raw mental agility—recalling a list of objects, grouping objects into classes and replacing words with numbers (or vice versa). The speed of reaction slows, too.

    人与人之间天生的差异,意味着60岁的机智老者能在青年应该获胜的场合中战胜25岁的迟钝青年。但是大体上,你会看到一个人的思维敏捷度从20岁就开始衰退——回想一列事物,将东西分类,用文字替换数字(或用数字替换文字)。年龄越大,反应也越慢。

    However, in the real world, the acquisition of knowledge will obscure the consequences of age-related decline. Performance in many jobs depends on how much you know and how well you know it, both of which increase well into your 60s. Knowledge tends to decline sharply after 65, but that may be the consequence of retirement rather than its cause.

    然而在现实世界中,知识的获取将遮掩由年龄所致的衰退结果。你在许多工作中的表现都依赖于你对它了解的多少与深浅,这两者在你60多岁之前都会随你的年纪不断地增长。知识的获取在65岁之后急剧下降,但那也许是退休的结果而不是退休的原因。

    As the brain grows older, it undergoes complex and poorly understood changes—from the biochemical, to the molecular, structural and functional—that lead it to shrink. The brains of those aged 40 and older decrease in volume and weight by 5% every ten years. This shrinkage, though universal, affects people's mental performance in very different ways. Similarly, other changes in the brain—such as the gradual decrease in the supply of oxygen and sugar—leave some peoples' memories unaffected, while others are searching for their glasses.

    随着大脑不断成长,经历了从生化到分子层次的结构与功能的复杂变化,导致了大脑的收缩,我们却对此缺乏了解。大脑的体积和重量在40岁之后每十年就减少5%。这种收缩,尽管很普遍,却以千差万别的方式影响着人们的智力活动。同样地,大脑的其它变化——例如氧和食糖供应量的逐渐减少——一些人的记忆不会受影响,而另一些人竟会忘记眼镜放在哪里了。

    Much wisdom about the ageing brain has recently been overturned. It was thought, for example, that the loss of neurons led to forgetfulness, culminating in Alzheimer's disease. Researchers now blame the loss of synapses—connections between neurons. It had been thought that new brain cells grew only in young children, and that thereafter every bump on the head or glass of wine led to a loss of intelligence. Recent work has shown that, given intellectual stimulation, new neurons will grow in adults' brains.

    最近推翻了许多关于老化大脑的看法。例如,一般认为神经元的减少导致健忘以及最终导致老年痴呆症。现在,研究人员把这一切归咎于联结神经元的神经键。人们过去认为,只有小孩的大脑中才会生长新的脑细胞,在此之后,头被撞了一下或者喝下一杯葡萄酒都会导致智力的降低。最近的研究表明,给予智力方面的刺激,成年人的大脑中也会生长新的神经元。

    No single mechanism adequately explains why brains age. One theory blames oxidative stress, caused by the onslaught of nasty molecules known as free radicals. Another identifies the influx of calcium into the brain cells. Brain ageing could be caused by changes in the way genes are expressed; or dysfunction among the neuron's mitochondria, which provide cells with energy.

    没有一个理论系统能充分解释大脑老化的原因。一种理论把大脑的老化归咎于氧化应激,是一群捣乱分子的冲击所引起的,这些捣乱分子被叫做“自由原子团”。另一种理论把大脑的老化归咎于钙流入脑细胞。大脑的老化可能是由基因表现方式的改变或者向细胞提供能量的神经元线粒体中的功能紊乱所引起的。

    Worryingly for some, evidence is emerging that high stress levels contribute to intellectual clumsiness. Chemical transmitters known as glucocorticoids increase blood pressure and damage the hippocampus, the area vital to learning and memory. Recently, young people with high blood pressure have been shown to be just as susceptible to mental decline as elderly people are. Researchers think that raised stress levels help people cope with the emergency but, over days and weeks, prevent them from learning new information and remembering it. As Jonathan Seckl, of the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, puts it, "When you are in a fire, you concentrate on where the exit is, not...what the woman next to you is wearing."

    高度压力导致智力迟钝的证据正在显现出来,某些人为此感到焦虑。一种化学传递介质叫做促糖皮质激素,它增加血压并且损坏海马神经——对学习和记忆至关重要的区域。最近,高血压的年轻人被证实与老年人一样易受智力下降的影响。研究人员认为,压力增加有助于人们应付紧急事件,但是持续几天或几周之后,就会阻止人们学习并记忆新信息。正如苏格兰爱丁堡大学的乔纳森·塞克尔所说的:“如果你遭遇火灾,你集中精力寻找出口,而不会关心你身旁的女士穿什么衣服。”

    What can be done to promote healthy ageing? You can lower your blood pressure, perhaps through physical exercise, and mental workouts, such as crosswords and sudoku—older people with a history of complex mental activity are less likely to suffer mental decline. But the best protection is to have been born with a big brain.

    能够做些什么来促进健康晚年呢?你可通过体育锻炼和智力测验——例如做纵横字谜游戏和九宫数独游戏——来降低你的血压。做过复杂脑力劳动的老年人最不可能忍受智力下降的痛苦,而最佳的防护方法就是天生一个硕大的头脑。

    译于2006年3月24日。

0

阅读 收藏 禁止转载 喜欢 打印举报/Report
  

新浪BLOG意见反馈留言板 电话:4000520066 提示音后按1键(按当地市话标准计费) 欢迎批评指正

新浪简介 | About Sina | 广告服务 | 联系我们 | 招聘信息 | 网站律师 | SINA English | 会员注册 | 产品答疑

新浪公司 版权所有