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:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional women, ... towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. The ... social audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, click ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... DevOps and Agile Software Development, has been awarded a contract by the Center ... Purchase Agreement (BPA) aims to accelerate the enterprise use of Agile methodologies in ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... treating sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as ... disorder characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... The American ... Excellence to Carol Friedman, PhD, FACMI, during the Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium ... 8. , In honor of Morris F. Collen, a pioneer in the field of ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... HMP , a leader in healthcare events ... Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during the ... The annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range of sectors. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... Mass. , Oct. 4, 2017  According to the Centers for ... the end of October . PhysicianOne Urgent Care is helping communities across ... Westchester, NY , by offering no-cost* flu shots through the ... as mandated by certain health insurance regulations. ... The best time to get a flu shot is by the ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY ) will ... 2017 on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. Lilly will also ... investment community and media to further detail the company,s ... at 9 a.m. Eastern time. Investors, media and the ... conference call through a link that will be posted ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017 The Rebound mobile app is poised to ... the tide of prescription drug addiction. The app empowers users ... and stepping down their dosage in a safe, controlled manner ... 2017; the first 100,000 people to sign up will enjoy ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: