Many older individuals experience a decline in their memory function as they age. While they may chalk it up to a full mind, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered that the problem actually lies in degraded brain pathways.

They said that as the brain gets older, connections that bring information to the hippocampus – or memory – region of the brain begin to wear away.

“Maybe this is also why we tend to reminisce so much more as we get older: because it is easier to recall old memories than make new ones,” said co-author Michael Yassa.

Authors of the study said their findings may hold potential keys to finding treatments for disorders like dementia.

However, philosopher and educator Ilchi Lee says that people do not need to accept the fate of an aging brain, since the mind can always be strengthened. Meditation techniques, like Lee’s Brain Education system, are meant to help individuals focus on the present and eliminate negative energy in the mind.

Such practices have been shown to help people retain their cognitive abilities, even when nature is working against them.