Feeling younger than you are may slow down the rate your brain ages, new research suggests.
People who feel younger than their years have greater volumes of grey matter in their brains, which is involved in hearing, emotions, decision making and self control.
They also have better memories, consider themselves healthier and are less likely to be depressed.
Study author Dr Jeanyung Chey, from Seoul National University, said: ‘We found that people who feel younger have the structural characteristics of a younger brain.’
Feeling old before your time may be due to a loss of grey matter making everyday tasks more challenging, according to the researchers.
How the research was carried out
The researchers analysed the MRI brain scans of 68 healthy people aged between 59 and 84.
They asked the participants: ‘How old do you feel, compared to your real age?’
Responses were either ‘I’m younger than my real age’, ‘I’m the same as my real age’ or ‘I’m older than my real age’.
The participants were also tested on their memories to determine their cognitive function, as well as them self reporting their personality traits, any depressive symptoms and their perceived overall health.
Feeling should motivate people to change their lifestyles
Another theory behind why people who feel older have ageing brains is they may be less motivated to lead healthy lifestyles, leading to deteriorating cognitive health.
Dr Chey said: ‘If somebody feels older than their age, it could be sign for them to evaluate their lifestyle, habits and activities that could contribute to brain aging and take measures to better care for their brain health.’
The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.One’s attitude can slow how their brain ages study says
Human brains become ‘old’ at just 25
This comes after research released last February suggests the human brain becomes ‘old’ at just 25.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is found in the brain and spinal cord, changes its speed of movement in people older than their mid-20s, a study by Lancaster University found.
These movements are linked to breathing and heart rates, with CSF changes previously being associated with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and high blood pressure.
It is unclear if these CSF changes are associated with brain disorders that typically affect the elderly, such as dementia.
Previous research suggests the volume and weight of the brain begins to decline by around five per cent per decade when a person reaches 40 years old.
Source: Daily Mail