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Feeling Young May Be Reflected in Brain Structure

Last Updated: August 09, 2018.

People who feel younger than their age show fewer signs of brain aging than those who feel their age or older than their age, according to a small study published recently in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

TUESDAY, August 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- People who feel younger than their age show fewer signs of brain aging than those who feel their age or older than their age, according to a small study published recently in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

Seyul Kwak, from Seoul National University in South Korea, and colleagues conducted a subjective age (SA) survey and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on 68 healthy older adults aged 59 to 84. A model for age prediction was developed using T1-weighted brain images of open-access datasets. Comparisons were made to see if three groups of SA (feels younger, same, or older than actual age) differed in regional gray matter (GM) volumes and predicted brain age.

The researchers found that elderly individuals who perceived themselves as younger than their real age showed larger GM volume in the inferior frontal gyrus and the superior temporal gyrus. Additionally those who perceived themselves as younger also had younger predicted brain age.

"Our findings suggest that [the] subjective experience of aging is closely related to the process of brain aging and underscores the neurobiological mechanisms of SA as an important marker of late-life neurocognitive health," the authors write.

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