'Super Agers' Stay Young, But How?
As we age, our bodies change. Certain areas of our brain—those associated with learning and memory, for example—shrink as we get older, often leading to a decline in our cognitive abilities. But scientists as Massachusetts General Hospital found that in some older adults—“super agers”—this brain shrinkage doesn’t occur. These people are able to retain memory and thinking skills well into old age.
Researchers conducted cognitive tests and compared brain MRI scans in 40 older adults, aged 70 to 80, and 41 younger people between the ages of 18 and 35. In the older age group, 23 participants had normal-for-age results and brain scans, but 17 performed as well as the younger group in cognitive testing and showed no brain shrinkage on MRI.
Learning more about how some people are able to avoid cognitive decline and memory loss in old age could provide important information about how to these effects of aging, according to researchers. Additional research could lead to advances in treating age-related memory loss, and potentially, dementia.
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