Women’s brains metabolically younger than men’s, a study has found

The study found women's brains were younger metabolically than men's

"On average, it found that women appeared to be younger than men in terms of their metabolic brain age, in terms of what their brain metabolism pattern looked like", he said.

Samuel Neal Lockhart, an assistant professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, wrote in an email that the size and scope of this new study is one of its strengths.

This difference could be why women tend to stay mentally sharp for longer than men, the researchers said.

"The typical female brain is more energetically youthful than the typical male brain throughout life". But women may be better than men at resisting this decline. He said brain metabolism might help researchers understand some of the differences seen between men and women as they age.

The researchers found that the predicted metabolic age based on the algorithm closely matched the actual age of the person.

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"What this tells us is that sex has an effect on how the brain ages, metabolically speaking", he said. This research may prove beneficial in later studies as well.

Goyal said that while the differences between the brain age of men and women was "significant", it was "nowhere near as big a difference as some sex differences, such as height".

"What we don't know is what it means". However, she cautions that regardless that females' mind metabolism is increased general, some female's brains expertise a dramatic metabolic decline around menopause, leaving them susceptible to Alzheimer's. Our recent multitracer PET brain imaging data demonstrate that as the brain ages, its resting metabolism gradually shifts away from a mixture of nonoxidative and oxidative use of glucose to predominantly oxidative metabolism (4, 5).

The team trained an AI algorithm to guess people's ages based on the amount of oxygen and glucose flowing through their brain. But as people age, their brain undergoes a reduction in aerobic glycolysis, which reaches very low levels by the time they are in their 60s.

There is no doubt that women and men are biologically quite different.

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"We're just starting to understand how various sex-related factors might affect the trajectory of brain ageing and how that might influence the vulnerability of the brain to neurodegenerative diseases", said neuroscientist Manu Goyal of the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

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.

Using this as a baseline, the researchers asked the algorithm to estimate the ages of the women based exclusively on their brain metabolism data.

It turns out that female brains tend to age more slowly, researchers report. "I think this could mean that the reason women don't experience as much cognitive decline in later years is that their brains are effectively younger, and we're now working on a study to confirm that". "Rather, it seems that women's brains start off at a younger age when they reach adulthood, and they keep that throughout the remainder of their adulthood, basically buying them a few extra years".

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