Navigation Links
Brain Adjusts to Cope With Life's Upsets
Date:12/16/2008

Study finds older women show less reaction to upsetting images

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- New evidence suggests that the brains of older women process negative images differently than young women, a sign that the human brain seems to learn to cope with the slings and arrows of life.

"Older adults seem to be able to show a reduced response to negative emotions," said Roberto Cabeza, a co-author of the study and a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University.

Researchers have long suspected that the brains of older people deal with emotions differently, Cabeza said. "There have been reports that there's a shift in the bias, perhaps an attenuation of negative emotions and an emphasis on processing positive emotions," he said.

For the new study, Cabeza and his colleagues put those theories about brain activity to the test in 15 young women (average age 25) and 15 older women (average age 70). All the women were healthy.

The women were shown photos chosen to elicit positive, neutral and negative responses. Later, the women took part in a test designed to reveal which photos they remembered. The researchers also scanned the brains of the women using fMRI technology, which measures neural activity.

While both groups of women were more likely to remember negative images, the older ones remembered fewer of them than the young women, Cabeza said. Older female brains also showed less activity between different neural areas.

The results "fit in with the theory that older adults are down-regulating or somehow suppressing a processing of negative information," he said, perhaps in response to "adapting" to the demands of life. "They may try to emphasize positive information and process less negative information," he added.

Why would older people do that? "They're having negatives like sickness and death of friends, relatives and spouses," Cabeza said. "It's possible that in this change and shift, by paying less attention and processing fewer negative events, we're protecting ourselves from these negative events."

In the larger picture, the findings, published online in the January issue of the journal Psychological Science, suggest that the brain changes over time and doesn't simply go into decline as people age, he said.

Paul Sanberg, director of the University of South Florida College of Medicine's Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, is a neuroscientist who's familiar with the study findings. He said the brain rewires itself over time as people learn new things, and young people, of course, have had less time for that process to work.

"Younger people aren't experienced in the world, they haven't seen as many negative things in their lives," Sanberg said. "They haven't learned to cope with those things as much."

Sanberg noted that the new study only included women and said there could be a difference between the genders on this front. He said future research could look at middle-aged people and seek out signs that their reactions to images lie somewhere between those of young and old people.

More information

Learn more about the brain from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Roberto Cabeza, Ph.D., professor of psychology and neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., distinguished university professor and director, Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa; January 2009, Psychological Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Aging brains allow negative memories to fade
2. Just in Time for the Holiday Rush, Braintree Stylist Bruce Fisher Offers Holiday Style & Beauty Tips
3. Study to identify best rehabilitation therapies for patients with traumatic brain injuries
4. Posit Science is Best in Brain Fitness Says Best Life
5. Playing Video Games May Boost Older Brains
6. Dakim Showcases Interactive Brain Games to Combat Dementia on New Website
7. UC San Diego scientists developing brain imaging methods for studying natural human behavior
8. Scientists ID Enzyme Causing Brain Cell Death
9. Posit Science Co-Founder and Brain Plasticity Pioneer, Michael Merzenich, Speaks at Science Conference in the Netherlands
10. Brain Boosting Drugs vs. Walking: Treadmill Desk Manufacturer Promotes Common Sense
11. New target discovered to treat epileptic seizures following brain trauma or stroke
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements ... that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and ... main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to Dr. ... Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to include ... in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of Glenn ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... As ... with Magna Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine ... and returned to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June 14 ... The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to ... operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) ... will receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance research ... anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in fighting ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, ... design, development and manufacturing of collagen and mineral ... announced today that Bill Messer has ... Marketing to further leverage the growing portfolio of ... devices. Bill joins the Collagen Matrix ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) today ... allow biopharmaceutical companies to more easily share health care ... coverage decisions, a move that addresses the growing need ... The recommendations address restrictions in the sharing of product ... a prohibition that hinders decision makers from accessing HCEI ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ., (NASDAQ: ... drugs, announced today that it was added to the ... its comprehensive set of U.S. and global equity indexes ... important milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief Executive Officer ... our progress in developing drugs for crucial unmet medical ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: