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:10/12/2017)... WILMINGTON, Del. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... technology and advisory services for healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range ... and National Association for Assisted Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... CITY, Fla. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... cold therapy products, announced today the introduction of an innovative new design of the ... multipurpose pad so you get maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using cold ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Dr. Parsa Mohebi, the Los ... article to the newly revamped Cosmetic Town journal section, featuring articles ... procedure known as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). , Dr. Mohebi says ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... RAPIDS, Mich. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... Wellness, has been named one of Michigan’s 2017 Best and Brightest in Wellness® ... and Brightest in Wellness® awards program on Friday, Oct. 20 from 7:30 a.m. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Dining at the University of California Berkeley, and other leading institutions in announcing ... buying power of institutions to change the way animals are raised for food. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017 The Rebound mobile ... the struggle to reverse the tide of prescription drug addiction. ... regulating their medicine intake and stepping down their dosage in ... to launch in December 2017; the first 100,000 people to ... more at http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... , Sept. 25, 2017   Montrium , ... File solutions, today—from the IQPC Trial Master Files ... , NL)—announced that EastHORN Clinical Services has selected ... programs and TMF management. EastHORN, a leading European ... platform to increase transparency to enable greater collaboration ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Sept. 19, 2017 HistoSonics, Inc., a venture-backed medical device company developing a non-invasive, ... tissues, announced three leadership team developments today:   ... ... ... Veteran medical device executive Josh Stopek , PhD, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: