If you feel younger than you are, it may be a sign that your brain is ageing slowly. This is according to a new study…

Some people feel ‘young at heart’ while others feel older than their age. Now a recent study has found that this ‘subjective age’ may reflect brain ageing.

Using MRI brain scans, researchers found that elderly people who feel younger than their age show fewer signs of brain ageing, compared with those who feel their age or older than their age.

Researchers performed MRI brain scans in 68 healthy people whose ages ranged from 59-84 years and looked at grey matter volumes in various brain regions.

The participants also completed a survey, which included questions on whether they felt older or younger than their age and questions assessing their cognitive abilities and perceptions of their overall health.

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Feeling young and thinking fast

People who felt younger than their age were more likely to score higher on a memory test, considered their health to be better, and were less likely to report depressive symptoms.

Critically, those who felt younger than their age showed increased grey matter volume in key brain regions. The researchers used the MRI data to calculate estimated brain ages for the participants.

“We found that people who feel younger have the structural characteristics of a younger brain. Importantly, this difference remains robust even when other possible factors, including personality, subjective health, depressive symptoms, or cognitive functions, are accounted for,” says lead researcher, Dr Jeanyung Chey of Seoul National University in Korea.

What does this mean if you feel older than your actual age?

“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,” says Dr Chey.

Source: Frontiers via www.sciencedaily.com

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