Feeling Younger Could Mean Your Brain is Younger and Healthy, Shows New Research

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The brain is a very complicated organ in our body, and neuroscientists only know little about what parts of our brains can do, but many things are still a mystery. What we all know is that there are a few ways to keep our brain healthy. But a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience shows an interesting secret on how to keep our brains young and healthy: it’s related to our mindset!

Jeanyung Chey and her team at the Seoul National University in Korea studied the link between the real age of the brain and the subjective age. They recruited 68 healthy people of ages between 59 and 84. They analyzed in MRI scans the amount of grey matter in parts of each participant’s brain.

Alongside MRIs, the participants completed a questionnaire. They answered questions like how old they are and if they feel younger or older than they are. Cognitive abilities and perceived health were also part of the tests.

Feeling Younger Linked to a Younger Brain

The results were impressive: people who felt younger than they were scored better in a memory test, they considered themselves healthier and were less likely to suffer from depression. Their MRI scans showed that their grey matter volume was bigger in volume in the inferior frontal gyrus and the superior temporal gyrus. These areas are linked to language, speech, and sound.

Chey concluded that “people who feel younger have the structural characteristics of a younger brain.” She added that other factors like “personality, subjective health, depressive symptoms, or cognitive functions” were accounted for and the “difference remains robust.”

Evaluate Your Lifestyle If You Feel Older Than Your Age

The researchers don’t have exact answers to explain why the younger characteristics of some people’s brains can affect someone’s subjective age, but they have a few theories. One would be that those who feel older than they are could be aware of the aging process of their brains. A different theory would be that the people who feel younger than they are, are more inclined to engage in physical and mental activities, and lead a more active life, improving the health of their brains.

Chey said that “if somebody feels older than their age, it could be a sign for them to evaluate their lifestyle, habits and activities that could contribute to brain ageing and take measures to better care for their brain health.”

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere