The Secrets of SuperAgers.
Why is it that “SuperAgers” possess brains as sharp as people 20 or 30 years younger?
Warning: I’m going to get a little neuroscience geeky on you, which is why I’m going to start with this quote from cognitive neuroscientist Emily Rogalski, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Feinberg School of Medicine: “SuperAgers are required to have outstanding episodic memory — the ability to recall everyday events and past personal experiences — but then SuperAgers just need to have at least average performance on the other cognitive tests.”
On average, these people (typically in their 80s or beyond) have normal IQ levels and have occupied virtually every profession. However, the SuperAgers’ brains don’t shrink as they age as much as others, partly because the cortex remains thicker. They have bigger, healthier cells in the entorhinal cortex, connected to the hippocampus, which is particularly important for memory and learning.
Furthermore, the study also found that SuperAger brains have three times fewer tau tangles or abnormal formations of protein within nerve cells than the brains of cognitively healthy controls. Tau tangles are a hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
I know it sounds like SuperAgers are just blessed with beautiful biology, but they also have many similar traits that suggest their environment and mindset play a role. They love to read and learn. They tend to be socially connected and naturally curious about other people. They are generally optimists and interested in making the world a better place.
Does that describe you? If so, know that this way of living is good for your brain. If not, how might you be open to new experiences and people?
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