Study seeks super agers' secrets to brain health

August 22, 2013 by Lindsey Tanner
In this Aug. 1, 2013 photo, 85-year-old Don Tenbrunsel, right, and Alex Wissman, soup kitchen volunteers, work at making lunches at St. Josaphat's Church in Chicago. Tenbrunsel is a "super ager," participating in a Northwestern University study of people in their 80s and 90s with astounding memories. So far the research has found scientific evidence that brains in this elite group resemble those of people decades younger. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

They're called "super agers"—men and women who are in their 80s and 90s, but with brains and memories that seem far younger.

Researchers at Northwestern University are looking at this rare group in the hope that they may find ways to help protect others from . And they've had some tantalizing findings: Imaging tests have found unusually low amounts of age-related plaques along with more brain mass related to attention and memory in these elite seniors.

The super agers aren't just different on the inside; they have more energy than most people their age and share a positive, inquisitive outlook. Researchers are looking into whether those traits contribute to .

The study is still seeking volunteers, but fewer than 10 percent of would-be participants are eligible.

Explore further: Elderly SuperAgers have brains that look and act decades younger than their age

Related Stories

It's not your imagination: Memory gets muddled at menopause

May 23, 2013

Don't doubt it when a woman harried by hot flashes says she's having a hard time remembering things. A new study published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), helps confirm with ...

Does being a bookworm boost your brainpower in old age?

July 3, 2013

New research suggests that reading books, writing and participating in brain-stimulating activities at any age may preserve memory. The study is published in the July 3, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal ...

Recommended for you

Scientists identify neurons devoted to social memory

September 30, 2016

Mice have brain cells that are dedicated to storing memories of other mice, according to a new study from MIT neuroscientists. These cells, found in a region of the hippocampus known as the ventral CA1, store "social memories" ...

Throwing light on the brain's perception of transparency

September 30, 2016

Researchers have created a new optical illusion that helps reveal how our brains determine the material properties of objects – such as whether they are transparent, shiny, matte or translucent – just from looking at ...

Some brains are blind to moving objects

September 28, 2016

As many as half of people are blind to motion in some part of their field of vision, but the deficit doesn't have anything to do with the eyes.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Osiris1
not rated yet Aug 23, 2013
Be nice if a link to that study was in the article. As it is, I will be required to dig for the info on the biiiiiiiiig baaaaaaaaaaadddd nett. Not to difficult for one who has done it for a really long time. Am 67 so probably do not qualify yet, although having a body that looks thirty may give some pause.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.