February 21, 2019

Men’s brains diminish faster than women’s, claims study

06 February 2019, 11:13 | Randall Craig

Women stay sharper than men in old age because their brains 'are four years younger', study finds

Women's brains are four years younger than men's on average

That may help protect against the loss of grey matter which causes thinking problems in old age, although more research is needed to discover if this is the case.

A new study has revealed that women have a more youthful brain compared to similar aged male counterparts when it comes to metabolism. The difference is a metabolical one, and it may serve to explain why women seem to stay mentally sharp longer than men. As an individual grows older, the brain's metabolism slows down.

For each person, the researchers determined the fraction of sugar committed to aerobic glycolysis - that sustains brain development and maturation - in various regions of the brain.

The researchers were looking at the flow of oxygen and glucose in their brains to determine the proportion of the glucose that was being allocated to aerobic glycolysis.

That is based on their use of glucose, and how it is burned for energy, which can affect brain performance. However, she cautions that regardless that females' mind metabolism is increased general, some female's brains expertise a dramatic metabolic decline around menopause, leaving them susceptible to Alzheimer's. The program did pretty well, but it made some mistakes, so the research team set about accounting for those errors. They suggest that developmental differences in men and women could play a role. Goyal said researchers have understood little about how brain metabolism differs between men and women. Here, Goyal and his colleagues compared participants' actual ages with their metabolic brain ages to see whether each brain was younger or older than expected.

A machine-learned algorithm showed that women's brains were on average about 3.8 years younger than their chronological ages.

Dr. Michael Bloomfield, honorary consultant psychiatrist and head of the Translational Psychiatry Research Group at University College in London, told Newsweek, "It is important that we don't draw unjustified conclusions from this study in terms of differences between men and women, but that doesn't take away the need to ask these questions". "It's not that men's brains age faster - they start adulthood about three years older than women, and that persists throughout life", Goyal said.

Regardless of the trigger, increased metabolism could give female brains an edge in the case of studying and creativity in later life, Goyal says.

For the new study, the researchers analyzed PET scans of 205 adults, all cognitively normal. In fact, it might go down and then come back up again.

However, Goyal noted that these effects are relatively small, and at this point can't be used to directly explain different changes in mental acuity that occur during aging.

'What we don't know is what it means.

GOYAL: It makes us wonder, are hormones involved in influencing brain metabolism and how it ages?

You can find out more about the results in the video above.

Also, the relative youthfulness of women's brains was detectable even among the youngest participants, who were in their 20s.

Women's brains appeared about four years younger, on average. Whereas age reduces the metabolism of all brains, girls retain the next price all through the lifespan, researchers reported Monday within the journal Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences.

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