Having a degree has a number of advantages. However, it cannot stop the aging processes in the brain. This is the conclusion reached by an international research team led by Lars Nyberg of Umeå University in Sweden on the basis of numerous European longitudinal studies. As a neuroscientist and his colleagues atPNAS“Report, they evaluated the brain scans of nearly 2,000 adults between the ages of 30 and 90 who were frequently scanned with an MRI scanner.
As a measure of brain aging, the researchers used what is known as cerebral atrophy, meaning the loss of brain volume associated with normal and pathological aging processes. As expected, the images showed that with age, parts of the cerebral cortex decreased in volume. The same goes for the brain’s learning and memory center, the hippocampus: it has shrunk by about 50 cubic millimeters per year, about one percent of its volume.
How quickly age-related deterioration occurs, either in the cerebral cortex or in the hippocampus, has little to do with educational level. Cerebral atrophy did not occur more slowly in students, but it did start at a higher starting level: with them, the volume – and thus reserve – was greater in certain areas of the brain compared to their peers without an academic degree.
Negative Reserves for Aging
Our results match them On cognitive aging: The starting level, not the regression, is related to education, “the group wrote about Nyberg, including German researchers from the Berlin-Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Thus, a higher level of education can reduce the risk of cognitive problems – thanks to a negative reserve. “This is not due to a moderate decline, but because of the cognitive advantage that the learners are less likely to develop dementia, and then reach the threshold beyond which they cannot lead an independent life.”
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