SuperAgers Are Proof Cognitive Decline Can Be Prevented

By David Parks, 9:00 am on

Researchers have become interested in the issue of SuperAgers and their possible reduced risk of cognitive decline. The term SuperAgers was first introduced by Marsel Mesulam, the director of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC) at Northwestern University. It refers to an elderly individual whose attention and memory is on par with healthy young adult. 

While it may be difficult to prevent all of the signs of aging, it is possible to prevent serious memory loss. If your aging loved one needs help maintaining good cognitive health, consider hiring a caregiver. For many seniors in Fort Worth, TX, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

Unique Characteristics of a SuperAger’s Brain 

Studies conducted on SuperAgers’ brains have revealed that:

  • They have thicker brain cortices relative to normal elderly people
  • Their brains decrease at a lower rate than the brains of their peers
  • They lose 1.06 percent of their brain volume annually compared to normal aging adults who lose 2.24 percent
  • They have sharper memories than seniors who age normally

Comparing SuperAgers’ Brains with their Peers’ Brains

Studies conducted on SuperAgers have found that SuperAgers’ brains are resistant to age-related cognitive decline. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital performed MRI scans on SuperAgers’ brains and compared the resulting images with images of normal aging adults. These researchers identified certain brain regions that distinguish SuperAgers from their peers. They found that the “emotional” regions of the brain, including the anterior insula and midcingulate cortex, were thicker for SuperAgers than they were for their normal aging peers. This study concluded that SuperAgers’ brain regions were resistant to age-related atrophy.

SuperAgers’ Brains on Par with Younger People’s Brains

A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience compared brain scans of people aged 60 to 80 with those of people aged 18 to 35. The study found that the brain cortex of 17 individuals in the older group was as thick as it was for the people in the younger group. The cortex is the brain’s outermost layer, and it normally shrinks with age. It is critical for attention, memory, and other cognitive abilities. The study concluded these 17 individuals were SuperAgers and their performance on memory tests was as good as the younger group. This implies there is a positive correlation between the brain cortex’s size and memory skills. 

While the research on SuperAgers is underway, older adults with cognitive issues can benefit from spending time with professional caregivers. There are a variety of reasons family caregivers should consider respite care. Fort Worth, TX, families often have additional responsibilities that make it more challenging to provide the care their senior loved ones need and deserve. A professional respite caregiver can take over your important caregiving duties, allowing you more time to focus on yourself.

Combating Age-Related Mental Disorders

Researchers believe the studies on the SuperAgers’ brains could reveal the necessary biological processes that protect seniors from developing mental illnesses, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. They are trying to unlock the secrets behind the SuperAgers’ youthful brains by identifying the factors that protect their brain cells from atrophy. The insight gained from such studies can be used to create the strategies for enhancing overall quality of life.

Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Fort Worth, TX, home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life. If your senior loved one experiences memory loss and needs help with daily tasks, call Home Care Assistance at (817) 349-7599 today.

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