Your brain definitely slows down as you get older, and memories can become harder to retrieve. In a lot of ways, your brain gets better as you age. Here's what's really happening inside your head, according to Dr. Margaret Gatz, professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California: * First: As you age, the two hemispheres in your brain sync up. Brain scans show that young people often use only one side of their brain for a specific task, while "mature" adults past middle age are more likely to use both hemispheres at once. This makes their brain more efficient, and allows for more creative solutions - because they're constantly using both the visual and logical sides of their brain. * Another fact: Your brain never stops growing. Scientists used to believe that some of our brain cells died off as we got older, but recent studies show that your brain is continually growing. It also changes when you learn something new. For example, a study in The Journal of Neuroscience found that 60-year-olds who learned to juggle showed growth in the part of the brain that processes complex visual information. People over age 65 who learned a musical instrument saw changes in the part of the brain that controls hearing, memory and hand movements. * What else happens to your brain as you age? You get more in control of your emotions - and have more clarity about how you feel. Young people ride a perpetual rollercoaster of happiness, sadness, excitement and disappointment, while older adults who've "been there, done that" tend to stay on more of an even keel. * Your priorities also become clearer. Dr. Michael Marsiske is a professor at the University of Florida and an expert on aging. He points out that older adults are increasingly aware that their time on Earth is limited, which explains why they prefer to spend time with a small, tighter circle of friends and family, pay more attention to good news than bad news, seek out positive encounters, and avoid negative ones.