Scans Show Female Brains Remain Youthful As Male Brains Wind Down

C C Offline

INTRO: Women tend to have more youthful brains than their male counterparts — at least when it comes to metabolism. While age reduces the metabolism of all brains, women retain a higher rate throughout the lifespan, researchers reported Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Females had a younger brain age relative to males," says Dr. Manu Goyal, an assistant professor of radiology and neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. And that may mean women are better equipped to learn and be creative in later life, he says.

The finding is "great news for many women," says Roberta Diaz Brinton, who wasn't connected with the study and directs the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona Health Sciences. But she cautions that even though women's brain metabolism is higher overall, some women's brains experience a dramatic metabolic decline around menopause, leaving them vulnerable to Alzheimer's.

[...] She thinks women's higher brain metabolism protects them from Alzheimer's when they are young. But menopause, she says, causes an "energy transition in the brain," one that affects the brain metabolism of some women far more than others. Brinton's research suggests that the women most likely to experience a dramatic drop are those who carry a gene variant called APOE4, which increases a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's, or those who have risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. "It's those women who will begin to develop the pathology of Alzheimer's disease earlier," she says....

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Syne Offline
Good. With their longer life expectancy, I would hope that their brains are better equipped to function longer.

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