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Are women's brains better protected against cognitive decline?
Now, when examining the age of brains using metabolism, doctors found that the brains of women are almost four years younger than those of men of the same age. But what leads to the brains of women in advanced age remaining younger and functioning even better than the brains of men of the same age?
Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis found that women's brains are metabolically younger than men of the same age. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS).
Women are often mentally healthier in old age
When women are metabolically younger by years than men, this could help explain why women are often mentally fitter later in life, the experts say. The difference of an impressive 3.8 years found during the examination can already be seen in early adulthood and then extends into old age. It was already known that all brains get smaller with age and that men's brains tend to shrink faster. The study suggests that changes in brain energy use over time are slower in women than in men.
Brain scans of over 200 subjects were evaluated
The research team from the USA examined so-called PET brain scans of 205 men and women aged 20 to 82 years for the study. The scans measured the flow of oxygen and glucose sugar, which the brain consumes in large amounts for energy. However, this usage pattern changes with age, the doctors explain. It's not like men's brains age faster. When it comes to adulthood, the brain of men is just three years older than women of the same age. This difference in the age of the brain will remain for the rest of life, adds study author Dr. Manu Goyal from the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis added.
Does a younger brain cause less cognitive problems?
The importance of this age difference is still unknown to scientists. Women could not break down as much cognitively later in life because their brains are simply younger than men of the same age, adds Dr. Goyal added. A study is currently underway to confirm the presumption. A group of adults is already under medical surveillance to determine whether people with a younger brain are less likely to develop cognitive problems over the course of their lives. (as)