All about SuperAgers

If you want to know about super agers, I recommend that you read, or reread, my three previous posts on them, for which you will find links below.

The following summarizing quotes are from the New York Times article by Jane Brody entitled The secrets of cognitive superagers.

Yaakov Stern, neuropsychologist and director of cognitive neuroscience at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, said, “Controlled trials of exercise have shown that it improves cognition,” he said. “It’s not just a result of better blood flow to the brain. Exercise thickens the cerebral cortex and the volume of the brain, including the frontal lobes that are associated with cognition.”

Dr. Thomas T. Perls, a geriatrician at Boston University who directs the New England Centenarian Study, said, “Alzheimer’s disease is not an inevitable result of aging. Those genetically predisposed can markedly delay it or show no evidence of it before they die by doing the things we know are healthful: exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, minimizing red meat in the diet, and doing things that are cognitively new and challenging to the brain, like learning a new language or a musical instrument.”

Here are the links for my three posts:

Cognitive super agers defy typical age related decline in brainpower

What does it take to be a super ager? – Harvard

Super aging seniors retain healthy memory abilities – Study

Finally, with regard to the title change on my blog, I would like to say that I was accepted into the Northwestern University’s SuperAger study last year. So, I am officially a SuperAger and totally willing to share my secrets. I hope you find them of some value.

Scientists believe the average person’s memory peaks in their 30s and begins to decline thereafter. SuperAgers follow a different trajectory. Their brains seem to age much slower, and when they reach the age of 80 or above, their brains look and behave like the brains of people decades younger.

Emily Rogalski, PhD, writes, “There’s some serious science consequences to studying these individuals and some hopes that we have for studying them. One thing is, when we think about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, one way to study it is to look at what’s going wrong with the brain and then try to fix or ameliorate or find a cure for what’s going wrong there … when you have a complex problem like that, sometimes it’s really helpful to turn it on its head and look from a different vantage point or perspective. We think superaging offers that.

“Individuals who are age 80 and older are at greater risk for memory decline than individuals in their 70s or 60s. To be considered for the SuperAgers study, you must be over age 80 and have memory performance at least as good or better than individuals in their 50s and 60s. 

“We ask them to take some paper and pencil tests to assess other aspects of cognition besides memory. We also ask them to participate in 3D scans of the brain using MRI technology or PET technology. We ask them to come back over time, we’re interested in genetic factors, and then eventually we even ask them to donate their brain at the time of death.”