Women's brain 3 years younger than men's

Leslie Hanson
February 5, 2019

While age reduces the metabolism of all brains, women retain a higher rate throughout the lifespan, researchers reported Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Brinton's research suggests that the women most likely to experience a dramatic drop are those who carry a gene variant called APOE4, which increases a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's, or those who have risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.

A study from Washington University showed that women's brains were about three years younger than men's, offering a clue to why women tend to stay mentally sharp longer than men.

The findings still need to be confirmed in follow-up studies. But if true, the researchers hypothesize that having a metabolically "younger" brain might provide women with "some degree of resilience to aging-related changes" in the brain.

Subjects ranged from their 20s to 80s, and across those age spans, women's brains appeared metabolically younger than men's, said the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed USA journal.

Further research is needed to uncover whether the neoteny of women helps them to avoid neurodegenerative diseases. 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're now working on a study to confirm that'. But as people age, their brain undergoes a reduction in aerobic glycolysis, which reaches very low levels by the time they are in their 60s.

Women may have the advantage over men when it comes to brainpower.

The US team looked at PET (Positron Emission Tomography) brain scan images from 205 men and women ranging in age from 20 to 82. "How it uses glucose and oxygen, and in what parts of the brain it uses the most, changes as people typically age".


Then, they trained the machine-learning algorithm using only men's ages and brain- metabolism data.

"It's not that men's brains age faster", said scientist Dr. Manu Goyal from the Washington University School of Medicine.

Then, the researchers flipped their analysis: they trained the algorithm on women's data, and told it to calculate the brain ages for men. They found that women's brains were more youthful as young adults, and the trend continued into old age.

The relative youthfulness of female brains was detectable even when comparing men and women in their 20s, the researchers said.

Goyal and his colleagues initially set out to see if a computer program could use this brain metabolism pattern to predict someone's age.

Still, Goyal noted that the difference between men and women's brain ages was relatively small compared with other well-known sex differences, such as height.

More work is underway to confirm and better understand the implications of the research.

A group of scientists believe the brain metabolisms of women take longer to slow than men's, which could explain why they tend to stave off cognitive decline for longer.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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