Published: Wed, February 06, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Men's Brain Diminish Faster Than Women's With Growing Age, Says New Study

Men's Brain Diminish Faster Than Women's With Growing Age, Says New Study

Study Implication Goyal clarified that the study does not imply that men's brains are aging faster.

As we get older, our brains burn less glucose to power brain development and more to complete everyday tasks and mental challenges.

The researchers carried out their study by analyzing PET scans of 205 people, between the ages of 20 and 82, with healthy brains in order to use a sample representative of the human adult life span.

Essentially they found that the estimated metabolic age and actual age were closely aligned across all individuals.

Scientists might have found the reason why women tend to remain mentally sharp in old age compared to men: their brains are aging slightly later.

The jury is still out on whether cognitive differences between men and women are created by nature or nurture - or to what extent they even exist - but we do know that average structural differences between the sexes are a real thing.

Pointing to existing research, the team surmised that women's brains could be free from neurocongitive decline for longer for a number of reasons.

While interesting, it is hard to see what practical implications this study has in terms of improving public health and preventing degenerative conditions such as dementia.

Where did the story come from?

Samuel Neal Lockhart, an assistant professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, wrote in an email that the size and scope of this new study is one of its strengths.

The story was widely reported in the United Kingdom media and the reporting was accurate.

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"The brain really relies on glucose and oxygen to meet its metabolic needs, and it's a very large consumer of those resources", Goyal said.

The researchers suspect that women gain this advantage during puberty, Goyal said.

It turns out that female brains tend to age more slowly, researchers report.

What did the research involve?

"Males, their blood flow to the brain decreases quite a bit as they go through puberty". The researchers analysed this using a "machine learning algorithm" that they had developed.

What were the basic results?

The team initially hoped to use the metabolic information to predict a person's age. But there was some variation across individuals with a typical deviation of roughly 5.4 years, varying from -18 to +16 years.

But little is known about how brain metabolism differs between men and women. However, the reasons for this metabolic brain aging phenomenon are now unknown.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

And when compared to men, male brains were about were 2.4 years older than their true ages. They suggest that developmental differences in men and women could play a role.

HAMILTON: The scientists had a computer study how metabolism changed with age. While the brain tends to shrink with age, men's diminish faster than women's. They found out that the algorithm yielded brain ages an average of 3.8 years younger than the women's chronological ages. The researchers wonder whether female brains may have some degree of resilience to age-related changes - possibly due to the way they break down glucose. "This difference is present even in brains that show amyloid plaques that are seen in Alzheimer's disease, although none of the persons had any clinical symptoms of the condition", Devi said of the new findings.

Accordingly, it is important to understand the factors that influence brain aging, particularly in the context of an aging population.

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