Women tend to stay mentally sharp for longer than me


Recent research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have found a new distinction between the brains of male and female, as age-related changes to the brain occur slowly in women than in men.

No doubt all brains age but how they do so vary among us all in singular ways. Some decline in reasoning and others remain active even as they idle up in years. Now, it looks, gender may also play a role.

Researchers of the study found that women’s brains, on average, seem more than 3 years younger than men of the same age, at least in terms of metabolic rate.

How effectively brain burn fuel is part of brain aging

A study was conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Researchers of the study used the metabolic activity of the brain to determine age based on preceding studies which found aging is related to a warning in such activity.

The researchers used PET technology for the study to measure the flow of oxygen and glucose in the brains of around 200 persons. Among them, there were 121 women and 84 men ranging in age from 20 to 82 years.

For each member, they observed how much sugar certain regions of their brain keen to aerobic glycolysis a metabolic process. Like other body organs, the brain uses sugar as fuel. But just how it processes glucose can disclose a lot about the metabolic age of brain.

Then a machine-learning algorithm was tasked with finding an association between their brain metabolism and age.

First, the research team educated the algorithm to guess the age of men from their metabolic statistics. The program assessed men’s ages appropriately, but when women’s data was fed, they appeared to be 3.8 years younger than men’s brains.

Fascinated, the team exchanged the investigation around and trained the machine again for the prediction of women’s ages from metabolic data. After this, the men were assessed to be 2.4 years older than their actual age. Even more inquisitive, this metabolic gap between women and men was seen even when they were in their 20s.

The final word

Researchers of the study stated that it’s not that brains of men age faster, they start adulthood about 3 years older than women which persists throughout their life.

But actually, we don’t know what it means. According to them, the reason could be that women don’t practice as much mental waning in later years is because their brains are efficiently younger. But researchers are currently working on a study for its confirmation.

It should be stressed that the brain age of participants here was only determined by metabolic activity, not other factors. There may be other physiological differences which were not considered in this research.

However, it does open doors for more research to see if this pays to the trend we see in female resiliency to age-related variations.





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Areeba Hussain
The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.


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