What happens to the brain as we age?
Brain aging is inevitable. But it’s not the same. It affects each brain or each brain differently.
Slowing down or completely stopping the aging of the brain is the best remedy for achieving eternal youth. Is brain aging a downward spiral we must accept, or are there steps we can take to slow our flying pace?
The human brain weighs about 3 kg, an amazing feat of engineering. There are about 100 billion neurons connected by billions of synapses.
At some ages, the brain undergoes more changes than the rest of the body after the third week of pregnancy. As the brain begins to develop toward old age, the complex structures and changing roles of networks and pathways converge and diverge.
During the first two to three years of life, the brain forms more than one million new neuronal connections every second. The brain quadruples in size during the toddler years and expands to about 90% of its adult size by age six.
The forebrain is the part of the brain that is responsible for executive functions such as planning, working memory, and working memory. Impulse control is also the last part of the brain to develop and may not be fully developed until about 35 years of age.
The aging of the normal brain
As people age, their body systems, including the brain, slowly deteriorate. “Thinking” is age-related, but people often experience these memory problems in their 20s but don’t think about it.
Older people often worry about memory loss because of its link to Alzheimer’s.
Common age-related changes in memory include:
Difficult to relearn: It can take longer to remember new information.
Multitasking: Working slowly can make it difficult to schedule multiple tasks.
Recognition of names and numbers: Strategic memory, which helps recall names and numbers, begins to decline at 20 years of age.
Memories of encounters: In the absence of evidence remembering data, the brain stores encounters in “memory regions” and cannot access them until a personal memory is formed.
One study suggests that one-third of seniors have difficulty remembering announcements. It is the memory of an event or experience that the brain can store and remember. Another study showed that 70-year-olds took one-fifth as many cognitive tests as 20-year-olds.
Now scientists are trying to piece together the larger puzzle of brain research to fully explain how the brain changes over time and contributes to these changes.
Common changes that researchers believe occur as the brain ages include:
Brain block: contraction of the frontal lobe and hippocampus. Engaged in advanced cognitive tasks and encoding of new memories. since the 60s or 70s
Cortical Density: It refers to the thickening of the surface of the brain region due to decreased synaptic connections. Lack of communication can slow down the cognitive process.
White Matter: White matter contains myelinated nerve fibers that connect pathways and transmit nerve signals between brain cells. Researchers believe that myelin is degraded as we age. This decreases performance and decreases brain activity.
Neurotransmitter: Researchers say the brain makes fewer chemicals as we age. Decreased activity of dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, and norepinephrine may be involved in cognitive and memory loss. and increased depression
By understanding the neural basis of cognitive decline, researchers may be able to identify treatments and strategies that can help slow or prevent the progression of dementia.
Recent findings in the aging brain
Several brain studies are currently underway. Scientists are constantly trying to solve the mystery of brain aging.
In 2017, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York found in a mouse study that cells in the brain’s hypothalamus can control the body’s rate of aging.
Dr. Dong Sheng Sai, professor of molecular medicine, said: “Our study shows that the number of neurons in the hypothalamus naturally decreases throughout the life of animals, and that this decrease leads to rapid aging.
“However,” he adds, “we can also reverse the effects of this damage. It is possible to restore stem cells or those molecules and change the processes that are not there. The aging of the whole body is reduced.
Injection of hypothalamic stem cells into the brains of old and middle-aged mice slows or reverses their cellular aging. According to the researchers, this is the first step towards slowing down aging and treating age-related diseases.
The “elderly” are a rare group of people over 80 whose memory is several decades worse than that of a healthy person.
The study, conducted by researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, compared older adults with people of the same age.
They found that the brains of very old people shrink more slowly than their peers, without memory loss as they age. This suggests that cognitive decline associated with aging is inevitable.
By studying the personalities of SuperAgers, researchers hope to identify environmental factors that may contribute to memory loss in old age.
A treatment that slows down the aging process of the brain
Researchers have identified several factors that affect the aging of the brain.
For example, obesity can increase brain aging by 10 years, and sugar and diet soda have been linked to brain health.
Growing evidence suggests that people with dementia and memory loss share similar characteristics:
- Participating in regular exercise
- Participate in creative activities.
- Be active in your community
- Stress management
- nutritious food
- Sleep well
Recent studies have shown that there are many ways to reduce the size of the brain while taking better care of people’s health.
Some of these points are explained in more detail in the following.
Another way to prevent age-related cognitive decline is exercise.
At least 45 minutes of aerobic and resistance exercise most days of the week can improve brain function in people 50 and older.
In addition, a study conducted by the University of Miami in Florida showed that the memory and thinking ability of people over 50 declined over a period of five years. Compared to 10 years ago. During moderate to vigorous exercise.
In fact, physical activity slows down brain aging by 10 years.
Dance can also free the mind of the elderly. A study by the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Magdeburg, Germany found that while regular exercise can reverse signs of brain aging, the most obvious results were seen in dancers.
Play a musical instrument
Researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto, Canada, have found that playing a musical instrument can help prevent age-related cognitive decline and preserve hearing in older adults.
Researchers have found that learning to play an instrument changes brain waves and improves a person’s hearing. Changes in brain activity indicate that the brain is reorganizing itself to compensate for a disease or injury that interferes with a person’s ability to function.
Dr. Bernard Roth, senior researcher at the Baycrest Rotman Institute, said: “There is a hypothesis that the production of music requires multiple brain systems, such as auditory, motor and sensory.”
Diet is an important factor in brain health. In 2018, researchers linked blood omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with healthy brain aging.
Another study also found that eating foods in the Mediterranean diet (MEAN) was associated with a lower risk of dementia in older adults.
A study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that middle-aged people with higher amounts of lutein, which is found in green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, as well as green leafy vegetables such as eggs and avocado had similar neurological responses. I understand. He is small
With such an aging population, our understanding of age-related cognitive changes will be strengthened.
While many questions remain about brain aging, research is moving forward to explain what happens to cognitive function and memory throughout life.
It also highlights how to maintain your mental capacity to improve your quality of life as you age.