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Scientists: can aging be stopped?


Aging processes can be controlled and slowed down

Aging overtakes everyone, but the progress of the aging process can be influenced and can even be stopped in some areas. For example, the aging of the brain can be stopped with targeted training and physical activity, reports Jacobs University Bremen.

According to the experts, the volume of the brain in most people begins to shrink at the age of 30. However, this aging process can be stopped with "targeted training, with movement, with physical activity", reports the university. "Everyone has it in their own hands to maintain their brain functions if they are physically healthy," emphasizes the Professor of Neurosciences at Jacobs University Bremen, Dr. Ben Godde.

The brain never stopped learning

"The brain is a network that is constantly renewed and re-connected," explains Prof. Godde, whose research focuses on lifelong learning, healthy and successful aging and the plasticity of the brain. While doctors used to assume that brain development was limited to childhood and that the brain "learned" at the end of this phase, it is now known that this is not true. The plasticity (changeability) of the brain is retained until old age.

Different demands on the brain

According to the expert, the plasticity of the brain is due to the requirements to which it is exposed. “If the requirements change, the brain changes,” says Dr. Godde continues. When people learn something, new connections are formed, new networks, explains the expert. What is important is saved. So the brain can change extremely over the lifespan. For example, it is important for young people to learn a lot and new things about the world, while older people tend to use their experience to solve problems. The brain works accordingly differently, which is sometimes misinterpreted as a reduction in performance.

Brain plasticity

The research group around Dr. According to his own information, Godde was able to demonstrate the plasticity of the brain in various studies, for example using tests on manual dexterity. For example, subjects of different ages were used to investigate how well they can differentiate between different surfaces, feel or stack objects. The parallel measurement of brain activity has shown that new connections are created in the brain that are also stored.

Endurance training with an extremely positive effect

The expert emphasizes that “both specific functions and the general performance of the brain can be trained”. Here, however, it is important to stay active. For example, endurance training improves blood flow to the brain. Despite these findings, however, the attitude that older people can no longer learn is still widespread. Godde strongly opposes this attitude. “Our studies prove the opposite. If you want, you can practice playing the piano even at a very old age if your muscles and hands are healthy ”; emphasizes the professor of neuroscience.

The whole organism stays younger

A few months ago, scientists at Brigham Young University were able to demonstrate that active movements slow down the human aging process. If people are consistently very physically active, they have significantly longer telomeres compared to sedentary people, the study authors reported. Short telomeres stand for advanced aging, which affects the entire organism. Not only the aging of the brain, but the entire body can be slowed down by high physical activity. (fp)

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