Brain Aging Occurs Between 30-40 Years Rather Than 25, Suggesting Refined Understanding of Aging

Category Neuroscience

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The University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) released a study, published in Nature Neuroscience, that reveals our brain's decline occurs between the ages of 30 and 40, instead of after 25th birthday. The study shows the connections in our brains become increasingly faster between these ages, slowing down after 40. This data could help further the research into the development of computer models of the human brain.

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According to recent findings from the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht), our brain’s decline occurs later than previously believed. The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, reveals that the decline occurs between the ages of 30 and 40, instead of after our 25th birthday.Dorien van Blooijs, a clinical technologist, and Frans Leijten, a neurologist, collaborated with colleagues from both UMC Utrecht and the Mayo Clinic to conduct a study on the aging process of our brain’s processing speed .

The study was conducted by UMC Utrecht, the Mayo Clinic, and other collaborating institutions.

The researchers discovered, among other things, that the connections in our brains become increasingly faster: from two meters per second in children aged four to four meters per second in people aged between thirty and forty. A doubling, in other words. Only after that age does it slow down. "Our brain continues to develop a lot longer than we thought," Van Blooijs said.The researchers also see differences between brain regions .

The study was published in the Nature Neuroscience journal.

The frontal lobe, the front part of our brain responsible for thinking and performing tasks, develops longer than an area responsible for movement. Van Blooijs explains, "We already knew this thanks to previous research, but now we have concrete data." The development of speed is not a straight line, but rather a curve.The researchers obtained the data by making precise measurements using an electrode grid that some epilepsy patients get placed on their brains (under the skull) in preparation for epilepsy surgery .

The data was obtained by placing an electrode grid (consisting of 60-100 electrodes) under the skull of people with epilepsy.

The grid consists of 60-100 electrodes that can measure brain activity. "By stimulating the electrodes using short currents, we can see which brain areas respond abnormally. Thus, we can create a map of which areas should and should not be removed during epilepsy surgery," Leijten said.The fact that the data could also teach the researchers something about how our brain works was a new insight. "We have been collecting this data for about 20 years," Leijten said .

This research could help further the research into the development of computer models of the human brain.

"It wasn’t until a few years ago that we realized we could use the unaffected areas as a model for the healthy human brain."Van Blooijs adds: "If you stimulate an electrode in one area, a reaction occurs in another. That lets you know the two areas are connected. You can then measure how long it takes for the reaction to occur. If you know the distance between the two different brain regions, you can calculate how fast the signal is transmitted .

The data is publicly accessible under open data.

"The results of this study provide important information about our central nervous system. Scientists have long been trying to map the connections in our brains. With this information, experts can make more realistic computer models of our brains.For these models to work, in addition to information about the connections, precise values concerning the speed of those connections are needed. "We now have these numbers for the very first time," Leijten explains, "With our data, researchers can make new and better computer models that increase our understanding of the brain .

The frontal lobe of the brain development slower than the area responsible for movement.

We expect our work to not only advance epilepsy research but also research into other brain disorders."With this publication in Nature Neuroscience, all data has become publicly accessible. This is called Open Data, which is increasingly being pursued in science. This means that the data can now be used by anyone.

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