'SuperAgers' memories as good as those decades younger

August 17, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Researchers at Northwestern Medicine have uncovered a rare group of 80-year olds whose memories and attention is as good as people 20 to 30 years younger.

In the first of several studies, 12 of the octogenarians were put through a battery of memory, attention and problem solving tests. Scientists also performed brain scans on the Super Agers, and found that the portion of their brains responsible for memory and attention was much thicker in the group when compared to other 80-year olds who have normal memories.

"The super agers actually looked more like the 50-year olds. In fact when you compared the 50 -year olds and the Super Agers, there was no significant atrophy or no significant difference in the brain in the outer cortex or outer layer of the brain," Emily Rogalski, Ph.D., neuroscientist, said. .

Understanding why some seniors skirt this aging process could lead to a breakthrough in preventing memory loss. There's more on this discovery in the "Journal of the International Europsychological Society."

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