Researchers have become interested in the issue of SuperAgers and their possible reduced risk of cognitive decline. The term “SuperAgers” was first introduced by Marsel Mesulam, the director of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC) at Northwestern University. It refers to an elderly individual whose attention and memory are on par with those of healthy young adults.
Unique Characteristics of a SuperAger’s Brain
Studies conducted on SuperAgers’ brains have revealed that:
- They have thicker brain cortices than normal elderly people do
- Their brains decrease at a lower rate than the brains of their peers
- They lose 1.06 percent of their brain volume annually, while normal aging adults lose 2.24 percent
- They have sharper memories than seniors who age normally
Comparing SuperAgers’ Brains with Their Peers’ Brains
Studies conducted on SuperAgers have found that SuperAgers’ brains are resistant to age-related cognitive decline. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital performed MRI scans on SuperAgers’ brains and compared the resulting images with images of the brains of normal aging adults. These researchers identified certain brain regions that distinguish SuperAgers from their peers. They found that the “emotional” regions of the brain, including the anterior insula and midcingulate cortex, were thicker in SuperAgers than they were in their normally aging peers. This study concluded that SuperAgers’ brain regions were resistant to age-related atrophy.
While it may be difficult to prevent all of the signs of aging, it’s possible to prevent serious memory loss. If your loved one needs help maintaining good cognitive health, consider hiring a caregiver. For many seniors in Allen, TX, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.
SuperAgers’ Brains vs. Younger People’s Brains
A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience compared brain scans of people aged 60 to 80 with those of people aged 18 to 35. The study found that the brain cortices of 17 individuals in the older group were as thick as those of the people in the younger group. The cortex is the brain’s outermost layer, and it normally shrinks with age. It’s critical for attention, memory, and other cognitive abilities. The study concluded these 17 individuals were SuperAgers, and their performance on memory tests was as good as the younger group. This implies there’s a positive correlation between brain cortex size and memory skills.
While research on SuperAgers is still ongoing, older adults with cognitive issues can benefit from spending time with professional caregivers. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality at-home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
Combating Age-Related Mental Disorders
Researchers believe the studies on the SuperAgers’ brains could reveal the necessary biological processes that protect seniors from developing degenerative brain disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. They’re trying to unlock the secrets behind the SuperAgers’ youthful brains by identifying the factors that protect their brain cells from atrophy. The insight gained from such studies can be used to create strategies for enhancing overall quality of life.
Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them attain this goal. Families can trust Allen senior care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living longer and healthier lives. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (972) 548-0392 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.