A new study shows a busy aging brain is a healthy brain.
The Dallas Lifespan Brain Study conducted by the University of Texas investigated the brains of 330 healthy participants aged fifty to eighty-nine, and the results indicate that older adults who keep busy show better functioning brains that their counterpart, less busy, peers.
The participants were first surveyed with regards to their lifestyle and then they underwent neuropsychological and cognitive performance testing.
The team of examiners at first hypothesized busyness would wear out brains because of the common belief stress hormones affect the health. Yet, the results indicated that all the participants who had an active daily schedule came back with higher scores for working memory, vocabulary, superior processing speeds, and reasoning.
There was a strong individual link between dynamic lifestyle and improved episodic memory or the ability to remember specific events from one’s past.
These results accounted for the education factor, meaning regardless of the education previously received, active aging brains seem stronger than the lesser energetic ones.
However, the lead author of the study, Sara Festini warns us that the busyness of a person’s lifestyle isn’t necessary the cause of a better functioning brain because vice-versa could also apply, better functioning brains might seek out dynamic schedules and lifestyles.
So busyness doesn’t necessarily equal staying cognitively sharp.
But overall, being exposed to more information and people throughout a busy week could lead to aging brain “muscle growth”. The researchers encourage us to maintain this activeness into our middle and late adulthood.
If you are among the on-call doctors, untenured professors or the very busy persons who keep hearing to slow down, now, with this study, you have a silver lining and an excellent reply to close people’s mouths; all of your “hustling” might translate into a superior brain.
The examiners were surprised to see the small amount of past studies carried out to examine the link between busyness and cognitive performance, especially giving the fast pace of the actual modern life.
This research is one of the most comprehensive and in-depth studies of the aging brain functionality in the US. The study can be found full-length in the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience journal.
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