Female Brains Appear to Be More Youthful Than Male Ones, Study Suggests

Maricruz Casares
Febrero 6, 2019

So they had a computer study how metabolism changed in both men and women.

It may explain why older men see a bigger drop in their memory and language skills than women, whose younger brains may protect them from forgetfulness for longer.

A recent study could help explain why, as the years go by, women tend to stay mentally sharper than men.

"It's not that men's brains age faster", said senior author Manu Goyal, assistant professor of radiology at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

In the battle of the sexes, women may just have their male counterparts beat when it comes to brain health.

Scientists had already established that age-related grey matter volume decrease occurs more quickly in male brains than female brains.

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

But menopause, she says, causes an "energy transition in the brain", one that affects the brain metabolism of some women far more than others. In children, a metabolic process called aerobic glycolysis features heavily.

This process slows down as we approach adulthood, and continues to slowly decline.

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The brain runs on sugar, but how the brain uses sugar changes as people grow and age.

So in the new study, the researchers analyzed brain-imaging scans of 121 women and 84 men who ranged in age from 20 to 82.

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.

The team first trained the algorithm by feeding it men's ages and brain metabolism, and then fed in female brain metabolism data.

The algorithm guessed that the female brains were aged around 3.8 years younger than their actual, chronological age.

Then they did it in reverse. "This difference is present even in brains that show amyloid plaques that are seen in Alzheimer's disease, although none of the persons had any clinical symptoms of the condition", Devi said of the new findings.

And when compared to men, male brains were about were 2.4 years older than their true ages.

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

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