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Surprising Science

How to Keep Your Brain Young

Rather than trying to cope with or counteract the cognitive decline that comes naturally with age, neuroscientists say that continuing to live an active and engaged life is the best strategy. 

What’s the Latest Development?

When it comes to maintaining a healthy brain into old age, what you do in your later years is more important than how you lived your youth, according to new scientific evidence just published in Trends in Cognitive Science. “Engagement is the secret to success. Those who are socially, mentally and physically stimulated reliably show greater cognitive performance with a brain that appears younger than its years.” The cognitive advantage of highly educated individuals as well as those with especially demanding jobs rarely outlast their own retirement, say aging experts. 

What’s the Big Idea?

New information on how the brain ages represent a fundamental shift in how scientists advise the public to keep their brain in good working order, even as the years accumulate. Rather than trying to cope with or compensate for the cognitive decline that comes with aging, it is better to avoid those age-related brain changes in the first place. Neuroscientist Lars Nyberg points out that memory decline occurs later than most people realize, typically after the age of 60. And aging people continue to accumulate knowledge until even later in life. According to Nyberg, the latest science increasingly supports the idea of brain maintenance. 

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