Study: Our brains compensate for aging

Apr 04, 2006

Yale University and University of Illinois scientists say they've determined our brains compensate for aging by becoming less "specialized."

One of two separate areas of the brain light up when younger people look at a house or a face, but each image activates both areas of the brain at the same time in older persons, the study said.

Christy Marshuetz, a Yale assistant professor of psychology and a co-author of the study, said although researchers aren't certain, they believe the extra activity in older adults is probably compensation for age-related changes in brain volume or efficiency.

The scientists hypothesized that even when consciously remembering specific items, older adults show decreased specialization in the fusiform face area of the brain and the parahippocampal place area of the brain when compared with younger adults.

"Our findings are the first to demonstrate decreased neural specialization in the ventral visual cortex in older adults, along with increased activations in the prefrontal cortex," Marshuetz said. "This underscores the importance of taking into account the connected and networked nature of the brain and its function in understanding human neural aging."

The study appears in the journal NeuroReport.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: No silver bullet: Study identifies risk factors of youth charged with murder

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The truth about the war on wheat

Oct 03, 2014

If you believe the best-seller lists, the biggest bad in the supermarket aisles is not fat or sodium or sugar, but wheat. We have been warned that eating wheat makes our bellies fatter and triggers diseases ...

Marine life assists forensic efforts

Jun 24, 2014

Aquatic organisms can play a role in explaining events surrounding the presence of human remains found in a water environment, according to a University of Western Australia expert.

Recommended for you

World population likely to peak by 2070

4 hours ago

World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and ...

Bullying in schools is still prevalent, national report says

5 hours ago

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers ...

User comments : 0