Public release date: 27-Apr-2012
Contact: Elisabeth (Lisa) Lyons
Maintain your brain: The secrets to aging success
Aging may seem unavoidable, but that's not necessarily so when it comes to the brain. So say researchers in the April 27th issue of the Cell Press journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences explaining that it is what you do in old age that matters more when it comes to maintaining a youthful brain not what you did earlier in life.
"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," says Lars Nyberg of Umeå University in Sweden.
Education won't save your brain -- PhDs are as likely as high-school dropouts to experience memory loss with old age, the researchers say. Don't count on your job either. Those with a complex or demanding career may enjoy a limited advantage, but those benefits quickly dwindle after retirement.
Engagement is the secret to success. Those who are socially, mentally and physically stimulated reliably show better cognitive performance with a brain that appears younger than its years.
"There is quite solid evidence that staying physically and mentally active is a way towards brain maintenance," Nyberg says.