Navigation Links
Well-connected brains make you smarter in older age

Brains that maintain healthy nerve connections as we age help keep us sharp in later life, new research funded by the charity Age UK has found.

Older people with robust brain 'wiring' that is, the nerve fibres that connect different, distant brain areas can process information quickly and that this makes them generally smarter, the study suggests.

According to the findings, joining distant parts of the brain together with better wiring improves mental performance, suggesting that intelligence is not found in a single part of the brain.

However a loss of condition of this wiring or 'white matter' the billions of nerve fibres that transmit signals around the brain can negatively affect our intelligence by altering these networks and slowing down our processing speed.

The research by the University of Edinburgh shows for the first time that the deterioration of white matter with age is likely to be a significant cause of age-related cognitive decline.

The research team used three different brain imaging techniques in compiling the results, including two that have never been used before in the study of intelligence.

These techniques measure the amount of water in brain tissue, indicate structural loss in the brain, and show how well the nerve fibres are insulated.

The researchers examined scans and results of thinking and reaction time tests from 420 people in the Lothian Birth Cohort of 1936, a group of nearly 1100 people whose intelligence & general health have been tracked since they were 11

The research was part of the Disconnected Mind Project, a large study of the causes of people's differences in cognitive ageing, led by Professor Ian Deary.

Study author Doctor Lars Penke said "Our results suggest a first plausible way how brain structure differences lead to higher intelligence. The results are exciting for our understanding of human intelligence differences at all ages."

"They also suggest a clear target for seeking treatment for mental difficulties, be they pathological or age-related. That the brain's nerve connections tend to stay the same throughout the brain means we can now look at factors that affect the overall condition of the brain, like its bloody supply."

Professor Deary said that uncovering the secrets of good thinking skills in old age is a high priority. "The research team is now looking at what keeps the brain's connections healthy. We value our thinking skills, and research should address how we might retain them or slow their decline with age."

Doctor Mark Bastin, who co-authored the study, said "These findings are exciting as they show how quantitative brain imaging can provide novel insights into the links between brain structure and cognitive ability. This is a key research area given the importance of identifying strategies for retaining good mental ability into older age."

Professor James Goodwin, Head of Research at Age UK, said: "This research is very exciting as it could have a real impact on tackling mental decline in later life, including dementia. With new understanding on how the brain functions we can work out why mental faculties decline with age in some people and not others and look at what can be done to improve our minds' chances of ageing better."

Contact: David Scott
University of Edinburgh

Related medicine news :

1. Pro Athletes Brains React at Olympic Speed
2. iPhone Memory Aid for Scatterbrains, Aging Baby Boomers and Busy, Forgetful People
3. MessageSolution First in the Market to Offer All-in-One, Integrated Cloud-Based Archiving for Email, File Systems and SharePoint at Novell BrainShare 2010
4. Scientists Tweak Subjects Brains to Alter Their Moral Choices
5. SharpBrains Launches First Brain Fitness Innovation Awards to Recognize Neuroplasticity Pioneers
6. Morphine May Protect Brains of People With HIV
7. SKyPRO Releases Public Beta of GWTalk at BrainShare
8. Blood flows differently through the brains of schizophrenic patients
9. Adolescent brains biologically wired to engage in risky behavior, study finds
10. Gay mens bilateral brains better at remembering faces: York U study
11. Tool manipulation is represented similarly in the brains of the blind and the sighted
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Dr. Poneh Ghasri, dentist in West Hollywood ... 2015. The research, which was conducted at the Dental Institute at King's College London ... between stress during pregnancy and future dental health in the child. For years, researchers ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Protein is essential to good health. ... bone, and blood. But how much protein does the average man need in order ... according to the October 2015 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch . Most ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Waycross, GA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 ... ... charitable nonprofit promoting the establishment of telemedicine programs in communities throughout Georgia, along ... (FTP) announce the collective schedule for their regional telehealth summits for Fall 2015. ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 13, 2015 , ... According to an ESPN report published on ... teammate accidentally elbowed him in the left eye during the first day of practice ... of a series of setbacks, including a knee injury that has interfered with his ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... In an ongoing effort ... , a Southlake, Texas, child development and pediatric therapy center, is working with ... families about their options for receiving this kind of care for affected children. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... Fla. , Oct. 13, 2015   Vigilant ... of solutions that aid in the early detection and ... has awarded Vigilant,s founder and CEO, Matthew H.J. ... Year Award, which recognizes an entrepreneur who has made ... life sciences industry in the leadership of ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc. (NYSE:  WX), a ... serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries, ... version of OncoWuXi, the first App in the ... and data on the go.  The OncoWuXi App ... to identify relevant tumor models for use in ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... 13, 2015   Happy Vitals ®, ... home testing kit for breast milk.  The ... an unparalleled, detailed assessment of the nutrition ... carbs and key vitamins—all charted over time ... health tracking.  In addition, Happy Vitals also offers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: