American scientists have found that the brain of some elderly people remains in the condition of 30 years old.
Scientists have found that the human brain at 80-years old is able to work the same well as at 30. The answer to the question of how to achieve this can help science treat Alzheimer’s disease. According to preliminary results of the research, an innate attention can play an important role.
The discovery was made by American scientists of Northwestern University in Illinois. The researchers conducted magnetic resonance imaging of the brain in 12 people aged 80 years, whose memory performance and thinking test results were the same or even better than those of middle-aged people. Scans showed that the brain of some of the aged people was
30 years younger than their actual age: their cerebral cortex, as well as the anterior cingulate cortex, were thicker. These areas of the brain are responsible for memory, attention, and cognitive abilities. “It’s unbelievable,” says one of the researchers, Professor Emily Rogalski.
Experts believe that these capabilities of the brain have to do with the fact that some people genetically have the rare ability to resist the effects of aging. In some cases, this may depend on successful gene combinations, along with a healthy lifestyle, but not always. “These people are a very diverse group. Some play sports five times a week, while others do not do any sport. Some smoke a pack of cigarettes and drink “Martini” every day, and some have never touched alcohol and do not smoke,” said Rogalski.
Curiously, among the “Super-Agers” there was a woman who survived the Holocaust and has been drinking whiskey every evening for a long time. At the same time, she survived four husbands. Another old lady was a housewife for the whole life, recovered from cancer and went through chemotherapy. Some have always been physically fit. According to Rogalski, it means that there are different ways to maintain the health of the brain in old age.
However, scientists say that such an outstanding work of the brain in 80-years age is a rare phenomenon. From 300 people who were sure that their mind was in excellent condition only 30 were confirmed after testing. According to the research, the key to brain health is attention, which supports memory.
“Watching people with a really healthy brain, we can understand how these people get to keep a good memory and, perhaps, eventually we will be able to help patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Research can help identify ways to maintain a high quality of life for older people”, concluded the professor. Scientists also hope that the new data will help find a cure for dementia.