Medical

Women's brains appear 'years younger' than men's

Women's brains appear 'years younger' than men's

On average, women's brains appear to be about three years younger than those of men at the same chronological age.

The stunning find may explain why girls stay sharper as they get older than boys, scientists said. "It is not that men's brains age faster - they start adulthood about three years older than women, and that persists throughout life".

And when compared to men, male brains were about were 2.4 years older than their true ages.

Pointing to existing research, the team surmised that women's brains could be free from neurocongitive decline for longer for a number of reasons.

For the goal of the study, the researchers made more than 200 men and women participants, ranging in age from 20 to 82 years, go through PET scans to measure oxygen and glucose flow in their brains.

The team assessed measurements of regional total glucose use, oxygen consumption, and cerebral blood flow, and calculated the fraction of sugar committed to aerobic glycolysis in various regions of the brain.

Other things that may help keep your brain healthy as you age include regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, not smoking and sticking to the recommendations on alcohol consumption.

The researchers are now following a cohort of adults over time to see whether people with younger-looking brains are less likely to develop cognitive problems.

They then noticed that for some individuals there was a huge difference between brain age and actual age.




Brain scans for men and women aged 20 to 82 found female brains are 3.8 years biologically younger than men's.

"This huge amount of data" allowed the researchers "to convincingly show that, no matter how you look at it, males have more accelerated metabolic brain age (e.g., greater than their actual calendar age)", said Lockhart, who was not involved in the new study but who has researched the roles of vascular and metabolic disorders in the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease. However, she cautions that regardless that females' mind metabolism is increased general, some female's brains expertise a dramatic metabolic decline around menopause, leaving them susceptible to Alzheimer's.

The researchers also performed the analysis in reverse: They trained the algorithm on women's data and applied it to men's. They then noted that there was a difference among men and women.

The relative youthfulness of women's brains was detectable even among the youngest participants, who were in their 20s.

A group of researchers from the USA took specialist brain scans from almost 200 healthy adults aged between 20 and 80. And that may mean women are better equipped to learn and be creative in later life, he says.

"It's not that women's brains seem to age slower than men's", Goyal said. That's one of the main takeaways of a new study out of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The researchers suspect that women gain this advantage during puberty, Goyal said.

That may help protect against the loss of grey matter which causes thinking problems in old age, although more research is needed to discover if this is the case. Studies in rodents, meanwhile, suggested that estrogen could make the brain more adaptable to change.

In fact, brain metabolism might have little to do with diseases like Alzheimer's or dementia, said Dr. Gayatri Devi, a neurologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.


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