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Thread: Brain is Fastest at 39... but It's All Downhill from There

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    Brain is Fastest at 39... but It's All Downhill from There

    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 11:35 AM on 23rd October 2008

    Life does not begin at 40 - it just slows down a lot.

    According to the latest research, our brain is fastest at 39 and afterwards declines 'at an accelerating rate.'

    The slowdown occurs because of the loss of a fatty sheath which coats the nerve cells, called neurons, during middle age, experts say.

    The coating acts as insulation, similar to the plastic covering on an electrical cable, and allows for fast bursts of signals around the body and brain.

    When the sheath deteriorates, signals passing along the neurons in the brain slow down. This means reaction times in the body are slower too.

    Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, say that after 40 the body 'loses the battle' to repair the protective sheaths.

    The finding was made after researchers tested how quickly men aged from 23 to 80 could tap their index fingers in ten seconds.

    The quicker the tap the greater the frequency of electrical discharges, called neuronal action potential (AP), in the brain. Measurements were compared with the integrity of the myelin sheaths in the frontal lobes of the brain, using MRI scans.

    The results from the 72 participants showed that both 'had lifespan trajectories that were virtually indistinguishable' - and, significantly, peaked at 39.

    Dr. George Bartzokis, a professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, said: 'The results are pretty striking.'

    'Studies have shown us that as we age, myelin breakdown and repair are continually occurring over the brain's entire neural network.

    'But in older age, we begin losing the repair battle. That means the average performance of the networks gradually declines with age at an accelerating rate.'

    The process of myelin breakdown begins in middle age and 'slowly erodes myelin's ability to support the very highest frequency AP bursts. That may well be why, besides achy joints and arthritis, even the fittest athletes retire and all older people move
    slower than they did when they were younger,' Dr Bartzokins said.

    Although the study used only men, he said he would expect similar results if women were tested in the same way. The research suggests that the myelin breakdown also reduces other brain functions which require fast connections, such as memory. The report is published in the journal Neurobiology of Ageing.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/ar...ill-there.html

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    Another reason why I wouldnt want to suffer the indignity of being elderly.
    Life is a well of delight; but where the rabble also drink, there all fountains are poisoned.

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    In my opinion, if you continue to use your brain, push it to its limits, then it will reward you throughout your life.
    Besides, science has also said that an active brain reduces the chance of such things as alzheimers in later life, as compared to those who allow their brains to remain dormant.

    Epidemiologists have found that a disproportionate number of people with Alzheimer's disease are poorly educated. Does education produce biological changes in the brain, actually stimulating neurons to grow and form more synapses?

    If education causes beneficial changes in brain structure, it's possible that an educated person could lose a certain number of neurons without a noticeable change in mental ability, while an uneducated person who lost the same number would suffer mental deficits. In effect, education might delay the onset of symptoms.

    In an ongoing (longitudinal) study show that among people who had the same degree of brain damage from Alzheimer's, the most educated people experienced the least severe symptoms. Socioeconomic factors may be important, too.

    Many researchers now believe that education level is less important in maintaining a healthy brain than the habit of staying mentally active as you age. A 2002 study reported an association between frequent participation in cognitively stimulating activities (such as reading, doing crossword puzzles, visiting museums) and a reduced risk for Alzheimer's
    Source: http://www.aarp.org/health/condition...disease_6.html.
    So which of these studies should I trust?
    The one that says I will grow "less smart" as I age, or the one that says it is possible to maintain a sharp mind as I age?
    I wish these scientific individuals would just come together and agree on one thing.

    The brain is considered the final frontier among science, and to many, as unfathomable as the depths of space or what actually exists out there.
    So how is it that they know 100% that their findings are accurate?
    Considering that they only tested 72 individuals is just as suspicious to me.


    Here are a few examples of men who accomplished great things after the doomed age of 39. There are many more like them :

    Raymond Chandler, one of the finest detective writers ever to have lived.
    Did not publish his first story until he was 46 years of age.
    His very first serious novel at 51, writing his last at 70.

    Hendrik Petrus Berlage, Architect
    Did not design and build his masterpiece, the Amsterdam Commodities Exchange, until he was in his forties.

    Beethoven wrote the Ninth Symphony during his mid-fifties.

    The Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung gushed:

    "inexhaustible genius had shown us a new world"

    Carl Czerny wrote that his symphony:

    "...breathes such a fresh, lively, indeed youthful spirit [...] so much power, innovation, and beauty as ever [came] from the head of this original man, although he certainly sometimes led the old wigs (scientists?) to shake their heads"
    Sure, the reaction time might become slower but the quality and integrity still remain mostly intact.
    It just takes the artist a little longer to commit it to paper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronan View Post
    In my opinion, if you continue to use your brain, push it to its limits, then it will reward you throughout your life.
    Besides, science has also said that an active brain reduces the chance of such things as alzheimers in later life, as compared to those who allow their brains to remain dormant.
    This is very true. Psychologists are also finding that activity and an independent mindset improves overall health. I know a woman who is 95 years old and takes care of herself fine, cooks, cleans, reads, volunteers, etc. Keeping herself active has helped quite a lot in her case, I would say. Her mind is still quite sharp as well.

    Perhaps if you care about FPS games after 40, this is on significance, but likely not otherwise.

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