Women's brain 3 years younger than men's

Women's brains are four years younger than men's on average

Women stay sharper than men in old age because their brains 'are four years younger', study finds

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.

"The brain really relies on glucose and oxygen to meet its metabolic needs, and it's a very large consumer of those resources", Goyal said. The findings, available online the week of February 4 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could be one clue to why women tend to stay mentally sharp longer than men.

Still, much more research is needed.

"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. I think this could mean that the reason women don't experience as much cognitive decline in later years is because their brains are effectively younger, and we're now working on a study to confirm that'. The brain still uses sugar for cognitive function, but aerobic glycolysis plateaus at a low level usually by the time people are in their 60s.

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Even so, for some people there was a big difference between their brain age and their chronological age.

Women may have the advantage over men when it comes to brainpower.

Obviously the exact age can vary from person to person, but to figure out if there are sex differences in that point, the research team conducted positron emission tomography (PET) scans on 205 people - 121 women and 84 men, from 20 to 82 years old.

Brain aging is linked with a gradual decline in brain metabolism - the chemical processes that help it run. Next, they entered women's data into this algorithm, and told it to calculate the metabolic ages of the women.

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Their brains appear nearly four years younger than men's on average, a study suggests.

According to the Independent, women's brains are known to be more resilient to cognitive decline with older women tending to score higher in tests of reason, memory, and problem solving than men the same age.

One theory is that hormones might begin shaping brain metabolism at a young age, setting females on a pattern that is more youthful throughout their lives, compared to men.

"It's not that women's brains seem to age slower than men's", Goyal said.

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