Daily Health Headlines

Brains of 'Super-Agers' Look Decades Younger

👤by Mary Elizabeth Dallas 0 comments 🕔Friday, September 16th, 2016

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Memory loss and muddled thinking may not be an inevitable part of getting older. New research shows that key brain regions in mentally sharp "super-agers" are similar to those of people much younger.

A team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigated how some older people avoid age-related memory loss, appearing to retain the thinking abilities and brain circuitry of people significantly younger.

The study, supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, involved 17 super-agers. These super-agers were between the ages of 60 and 80. They scored as well on memory tests as adults who were 40 to 50 years younger, the investigators found.

The study also included 23 people aged 60 to 80 who had normal scores or performed as expected on memory tests. Additionally, 41 younger adults, aged 18 to 35, were included in the study.

"Previous research on super-aging has compared people over age 85 to those who are middle-aged," study senior co-author Alexandra Touroutoglou, an instructor in neurology, said in a hospital news release.

"Our study is exciting because we focused on people around or just after typical retirement age -- mostly in their 60s and 70s -- and investigated those who could remember as well as people in their 20s," she said.

Imaging studies showed the brains of the super-agers had a youthful appearance. Certain parts of the brain -- including its outermost layer (the cortex) that's essential for thinking -- usually shrinks with age.

Many of the brain regions of super-agers were similar in size to those of the younger adults, the study showed.

"We looked at a set of brain areas known as the default-mode network, which has been associated with the ability to learn and remember new information, and found that those areas -- particularly the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex -- were thicker in super-agers than in other older adults," said Touroutoglou.

"In some cases, there was no difference in thickness between super-agers and young adults," she added.

The size of these brain networks among the super-agers also correlated with their memory skills, the study authors said.

"We believe that effective communication between these networks is very important for healthy cognitive [mental] aging," Touroutoglou said.

The researchers suggested their findings could lead to new developments in the treatment and prevention of age-related memory loss and dementia.

Dr. Bradford Dickerson, the study's senior co-author, said, "We desperately need to understand how some older adults are able to function very well into their seventh, eight, and ninth decades." Dickerson is director of the frontotemporal disorders unit in the MGH department of neurology.

"This could provide important clues about how to prevent the decline in memory and thinking that accompanies aging in most of us," he said.

The study was published Sept. 13 in The Journal of Neuroscience.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

Article Credits / Source

Mary Elizabeth Dallas / HealthDay

Mary Elizabeth Dallas wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCE: Partners HealthCare, news release, Sept. 13, 2016

View More Articles From Mary Elizabeth Dallas 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Daily Health & Medical News Articles

U.S. Death Toll From Infectious Diseases Unchanged: Study

U.S. Death Toll From Infectious Diseases Unchanged: Study0

TUESDAY, Nov. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The war against infectious diseases -- medicine versus microbes -- has been holding steady, with the U.S. death rate from these diseases about the same now as it was in 1980, new research says. But ...

2 Doses of HPV Vaccine Effective for Younger Teens

2 Doses of HPV Vaccine Effective for Younger Teens0

TUESDAY, Nov. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- New global research confirms that two doses of the vaccine for HPV, rather than three, can protect younger teens against the sexually transmitted virus. Based on this study and others, U.S. government ...

Tobacco Flavors Draw in Young Folks

Tobacco Flavors Draw in Young Folks0

TUESDAY, Nov. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Flavored tobacco products attract young people who also consider them less harmful, researchers say. The University of North Carolina team reviewed 40 studies conducted in the United States and other ...

Health Tip: Exercise Can Be a Brain-Booster

Health Tip: Exercise Can Be a Brain-Booster0

(HealthDay News) -- Exercise does more than keep your body healthier. It also affects chemicals in your brain that help you think and focus. The American Council on Exercise says: Exercise improves alertness and focus, and helps you feel ...

New Fetal Views in 3-D

New Fetal Views in 3-D0

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Expectant parents may soon be able to view a three-dimensional virtual reality version of the fetus, researchers say. This is possible with new technology that combines MRI and ultrasound data into a ...

View More Daily Health & Medical News Articles

0 Comments

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!