Here is why women are mentally sharper than men in old age
Here is why women are mentally sharper than men in old age
The study found women's brains were younger metabolically than men's
07 February, 2019, 18:30
The study from researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is a great news for all women. "When we started looking at that, we were pleasantly surprised that when the machine was trying to age a woman compared to a man, it consistently aged the woman to be a little bit younger than the man", Goyal said. They used the scans to calculate what they termed the "metabolic age" of the brain. The researchers put data from the scans that showed how the brain uses oxygen and glucose into a computer model that was created to estimate the metabolic age of individuals' brains.
The team initially hoped to use the metabolic information to predict a person's age. The answer has been found through research which shows that time wears differently on women's and men's brains.
When the study was reversed - by training the algorithm on women's data and applying it to men - it produced a slightly different result. The difference also was present in people who had brain amyloid. Goyal said, "When we looked at males versus females, we did find an effect". They found out that the algorithm yielded brain ages an average of 3.8 years younger than the women's chronological ages. But it's still not clear why. "Differences in how a female's and a male's brain develops across puberty sets the stage for how they're going to age subsequently". Still, more research is needed to better understand brain aging overall and to help prevent or delay neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, which are "a major growing problem in the United States and elsewhere", he said. "Estrogen, which increases vitality of the brain regions involved in memory, but which plummets after menopause in women, may be a factor, although multiple other factors are likely involved".
How? The steps are a lot like those meant to prevent diabetes, Brinton says. Babies and children use some of their brain fuel in a process called aerobic glycolysis that sustains brain development and maturation.
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A study from Washington University showed that women's brains were about three years younger than men's, offering a clue to why women tend to stay mentally sharp longer than men.
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Samuel Neal Lockhart, an assistant professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, wrote in an email that the size and scope of this new study is one of its strengths. So they studied the brains of more than 200 adults.
Regardless of the trigger, increased metabolism could give female brains an edge in the case of studying and creativity in later life, Goyal says.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PNAS and is freely available to read online.
Even so, for some individuals, there was a giant distinction between their mind age and their chronological age.
"The mean metabolic brain age (minus actual age) was on average 3.8 y (years) less for females compared with males". Female's brains appeared about four years youthful, commonly. Studies in rodents, meanwhile, suggested that estrogen could make the brain more adaptable to change.
He concluded that diet and exercise can keep the metabolism of the brain running and can have an influence on "healthy aging and in disease".
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