Use it or lose it when it comes to Brain Function in Old Age

credit: National Cancer Institute Rhoda Baer (Photographer) - PD

(Best Syndication News) - Researchers found that elderly people fared better with their cognitive performance when they were engaged socially, mentally, and physically. In a study that appeared in the April 27, 2012 issue of the Cell Press journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, researchers discussed the importance of staying engaged to preserve brain function when we age.

Lars Nyberg of Umeå University in Sweden explained, “Although some memory functions do tend to decline as we get older, several elderly show well preserved functioning and this is related to a well-preserved, youth-like brain.”

If you think you are safe because you had a great education in your youth, think again. The researchers believe that people with a PhD are just as likely as high-school dropouts to suffer from memory loss when they get older. A demanding career that keeps you challenged is good, but once retirement arrives, the mental boost could disappear.

The scientists said that some elderly patients showed very little to no brain changes compared to younger adults. These elderly people showed cognitive performance that was intact. The researchers suggest that this came about from brain maintenance. Basically, they used their brain, instead of losing it.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

ref: Nyberg et al.: "Memory aging and brain maintenance."

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