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BrainFacts.org

Introduction

The experiences we have throughout life actively shape our brains. From birth through the final stages of life, brain cells and the connections between them are changing in response to the environment. With increasingly sophisticated technology, researchers are exploring changes in brain cell structure and function throughout life more closely than ever before. What they are finding could one day guide new strategies to boost brain health and promote earlier recognition of brain disease. With imaging and the use of molecular and genetic tools, researchers are identifying key differences between the healthy brains of children, teenagers, and older adults. While many questions about the developing and aging brain remain, human and animal studies have demonstrated how a person’s lifestyle influences brain health over time. Recent studies also highlight the brain’s remarkable ability to adapt to life experiences.

Discoveries

Source: Dana Foundation
Even without a disease such as Alzheimer’s, the aging brain does show signs of wear. Researchers look to the molecular level to see if they can slow the ‘normal’ progress.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Doctors, researchers, and an elderly woman explain healthy brain aging. Part of a video series on pressing neuroscience health issues.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
We all want to age well. Exercise, eating right, and avoiding stress help maintain a healthy body as we age, but what about the brain? New research indicates these same strategies also promote brain health.

Youth and Aging in the News

Source: FOX News
Date: 2 July 2014
Less sleep was found to be associated with brain shrinkage and cognitive decline, according to new research of older adults.
Source: CBS
Date: 3 June 2014
Speaking two or more languages helps protect your brain as you age, even if you learn new languages as an adult, new research suggests.
Source: NPR Shots Blog
Date: 8 May 2014
Scientists have found that a hormone associated with long life also seems to make people smarter.
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