Personal Health File

August 19, 2012 at 8:02 am Leave a comment

TORONTO — Prevailing wisdom would suggest that the loss of memory and other cognitive functions is an inevitable part of aging. But is it?

That certainly isn’t the case for a rare group of individuals in their 80s, whose memory, attention, problem-solving ability and other brain functions are equal to people 20, and even 30 years, their junior.

Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago identified a group of 30 such SuperAgers, as they dubbed them, after testing about 300 octogenarians for a series of studies on cognitive function and integrity of brain tissue.

For the first of those studies, published Thursday in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, researchers put 12 of the SuperAgers through their mental paces with a battery of standard tests that included how well they recalled a list of words and a story they had been told.

The researchers also performed MRI scans on the dozen SuperAgers to see how their brain structures compared to control subjects aged 50 to 65, with similar cognitive profiles, and to other octogenarians.

Click here to read more.

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