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:5/24/2016)... IN (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... benefits advisory organization, is pleased to welcome new Partner Firm Austin & Co., ... personalized, consultative approach to insurance, employee benefits, HR consulting, benefits technology, and beyond. ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... ... New Brunswick, New Jersey: This year marks Children’s Specialized Hospital ’s 125th anniversary ... anniversary, the hospital has themed the milestone “Hats Off” and kicked off the yearlong ... Saturday, May 21, at Johnson Park in Piscataway, New Jersey. , “Hats ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... disease or injury that focuses on repairing the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems of ... emphasis on functional restoration, NYDNRehab began providing treatments for physical therapy in New ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Growing in popularity, more and more people continue ... available and easily accessible. Whether someone chooses to cut gluten out of their life ... King Kullen Grocery stocks their shelves with many different gluten-free products all year round. ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Bio-Logic ... specialist for forty years and a trainer for Ageless Grace ( http://www.agelessgrace.com ) ... Talk Show on May 16, 2016. , Formerly a Northwestern University Literature Professor, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... 23, 2016 According to ... Market by Product (Wheelchair, Scooters, Medical Beds, Bathroom ... Critical Care, Wound), Accessories (Lifting, Transfer) & by ... published by MarketsandMarkets, the patient handling equipment market ... 2021 at a CAGR of 10.5% during the ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... May 23, 2016 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) ... and Internship programs. The hands-on learning experience is a ... full-time, paid Fellowship and Internship ... . Fellows and interns are provided optional housing free ... at the Riverfront Residence Hall to foster ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... According to market research ... and Demand Forecast to 2022 - Industry Insights ... (Drug Discovery and Development, Proteomics, Clinical Testing, Environment ... and Biotechnology, Academic and Research Institute, Hospitals and ... mass spectrometry market was valued at ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: