The Science Behind Superagers: Brain, Cognition, Dementia, and Longevity
Have you ever heard of the term superagers?
They are a small group of individuals aged 80 and above who have exceptional cognitive abilities, comparable to those of people in their 50s or 60s. What makes them so remarkable? And what can we learn from them about brain health, cognition, and aging? In this blog, we will explore the fascinating world of superagers and the science behind their remarkable abilities.
The term “superagers” was coined by scientists at Northwestern University in 2012 to describe a group of older adults who scored as well as or better than middle-aged adults on memory and cognitive tests. They found that the brains of superagers looked and functioned more like those of young adults than those of their peers. Since then, other studies have confirmed the existence of superagers and have investigated what sets them apart from other older adults.
One of the key factors that differentiate superagers from their peers is their brain structure. Studies have found that superagers have thicker cortex in regions of the brain that are critical for memory, such as:
- the hippocampus
- the prefrontal cortex.
This thicker cortex is thought to provide better insulation for the brain cells and protect them from damage and degeneration.
Another important factor is their lifestyle habits. Superagers tend to lead active and socially engaged lives, with regular physical and mental exercise. They also tend to have a positive outlook on life and to engage in activities that are meaningful to them. These factors have been shown to contribute to brain health and cognitive function in later life.
What about dementia? Are superagers immune to this devastating condition?
Unfortunately, no. Superagers are still at risk of developing dementia, just like everyone else. However, studies have found that the onset of dementia in superagers tends to be later in life than in other older adults. This delayed onset suggests that the brain of superagers may have built up a cognitive reserve that can protect against the effects of dementia.
What can we learn from superagers about aging and brain health?
Firstly, we can learn that brain health is not solely determined by genetics or age. Lifestyle habits, such as:
- physical and mental exercise
- social engagement
- a positive outlook on life
can have a significant impact on brain health and cognitive function in later life.
Secondly, we can learn that it is never too late to start adopting healthy habits. Even if you have not been leading a healthy lifestyle in your younger years, you can still make positive changes that can benefit your brain and cognitive function in later life.
Click here to see the full scientific article from The Washington Post.
By studying their brains and lifestyles, we can gain valuable insights into the factors that contribute to brain health and cognitive function in later life. We can also learn that it is never too late to start adopting healthy habits that can benefit our brains and cognitive function, regardless of our age or genetic makeup. Start incorporating supplements like Brain Vitale to improve brain health and Magnesium Malate to improve cognitive ability, and these are all from Asher Longevity Institute.