Whether it’s birdwatching, studying French politics or the history of Uruguayan football, accumulating expert knowledge can improve the memory, suggests new research from Toronto’s Baycrest Health Sciences suggests. Far from merely representing the obesssions of geeks, such knowledge builds mental scaffolding that helps us separate items similar enough to create confusion, such as the difference between seabirds or warblers. Dr Erik Wing, a postdoctoral fellow at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI) and the lead author of the study, describes it as “an area of strength in older adults that we may be able to harness to mitigate age related memory decline and improve quality of life for this group.”Image: Northern Gannet by Jean van der Meulen from Pixabay