February 1, 2023

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They are over 80 years old, but their brains are young.  They are old!

They are over 80 years old, but their brains are young. They are old!

Although we have always dreamed of eternal youth, we still have not been able to discover its secret and have to accept the fact that we are getting old. As it turns out, time doesn’t treat everyone the same — just look at what’s called. Super Old People Who Despite their advanced age, they still delight in their health, life force, and mental sharpness. It’s a term coined by Northwestern University to describe people over the age of 80 whose cognitive abilities are as good as those of “average” people in their 50s and 60s.

If they can successfully complete a series of tests confirming this, pThey are part of the elite group of the Northwestern SuperAging Research Program that has been studying this unusual phenomenon for nearly 15 years.. SuperOlds must not only have exceptional episodic memory, that is, the ability to recall everyday events and past personal experiences, but also achieve adequate scores on cognitive tests. As project author Emily Rogalski of the Feinberg College of Medicine explains, it’s only about 10 percent. Program applicants meet these criteria.

Then where else? The program participants have practiced Color brain scans, which are repeated with cognitive tests every yearwhich provide scientists with the material to analyze this intriguing phenomenon. It turns out that although our brains shrink with age, in SuperOlds the cerebral cortex responsible for thinking, decision making and memory remains thicker and shrinks more slowly than other people in their fifties and sixties.

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Moreover, their brains have it Larger, healthier cells in the entorhinal cortex, the area most affected by Alzheimer’s diseaseand this — as the author of another study comparing the brains of deceased SuperOld subjects with the brains of older and younger normal subjects and people diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease — has direct connections to another key memory center, the hippocampus, which is essential for remembering and learning.

The study also showed that The SuperOlds’ brains had three times less tau tangles, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. or abnormal protein formations in more neurons than the brains of healthy cognitive controls. And they had it Many of the so-called economic von neurons (spindle neurons), which only occur in the most intelligent mammals (humans, elephants, dolphins, monkeys) is a precursor to the hypothesis that it is an expression of neuroadaptation, enabling rapid processing and transmission of information.

All of this suggests that genetics play a huge role in becoming a SuperOld, but confirming birth using larger inner neurons would require measuring those neurons from birth to death, which is obviously impossible. However, environmental factors are also possible, because, as the researchers stress, All people at SuperOld share a passion for physical activity, a positive approach to life and daily brain training with new challenges.