The research team will also investigate why older women tend to score better on brain tests in areas including reason, memory and problem-solving than men.
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.
Researchers found that women's brains were 3.8 years younger than their chronological ages, while men's brains were 2.4 years older than their true ages Women's brains appear to be three years younger than men's of the same age, which may explain why females stay mentally sharp for longer, say scientists. The difference is consistent from early adulthood into the senior years, reports the Guardian. They then noted that there was a difference among men and women. As an individual grows older, the brain's metabolism slows down.
The researchers found that the predicted metabolic age based on the algorithm closely matched the actual age of the person. Persistent metabolic youth in the aging female brain.
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.
Scientists have just found a new distinction between the brains of the two sexes: age-related changes to the brain occur more slowly in women than in men. What this means is that men's brains do not age faster, they simply have a bit older brains, to begin with. It was this algorithm that revealed that women's brains were an average of 3.8 years younger than men's.
They then fed a machine-learning algorithm the male sample data to establish a relationship between age and brain metabolism.
One theory is that hormones might begin shaping brain metabolism at a young age, setting females on a pattern that is more youthful throughout their lives, compared to men.
Time wears differently on women's and men's brains. The relative sprightliness was detectable even among the youngest subjects, who were in their twenties.
Women had a persistently lower "metabolic brain age" relative to chronological age throughout their adult lifespan, reported Manu Goyal, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues inProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The new research focused on metabolic processes that have a major influence on brain performance and ageing.
Pointing to existing research, the team surmised that women's brains could be free from neurocongitive decline for longer for a number of reasons.
The researchers also performed the analysis in reverse. "I think this could mean that the reason women don't experience as much cognitive decline in later years is because their brains are effectively younger, and we are now working on a study to confirm that", he said. Goyal said, "We don't see brain aging itself as something that needs to be "halted" He added that, "what we need to understand is how brain aging contributes to diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, and why some people are more or less resilient to developing Alzheimer's and other brain diseases".
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