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Brain Health and Positive Friendships: For nine years, these experts have been examining “SuperAgers” — men and women over age 80 whose memories are as good — or better — than people 20 to 30 years younger. Every couple of years, the group fills out surveys about their lives and gets a battery of neuropsychological tests, brain scans and a neurological examination, among other evaluations.
Distinctive Brain Features of SuperAgers
Previous research by the Northwestern group provided tantalizing clues, showing that SuperAgers have distinctive brain features: thicker cortexes, a resistance to age-related atrophy and a larger left anterior cingulate (a part of the brain important to attention and working memory).
But brain structure alone doesn’t fully account for SuperAgers’ unusual mental acuity, Rogalski suggested. “It’s likely there are a number of critical factors that are implicated,” she said.
Staying Active at Retirement Community
Edith Smith, one of the SuperAgers, has plenty of thoughts about that. At her retirement community, she’s one of nine people who welcome new residents and try to help make them feel at home. “I have a smile for everybody,” she said. “I try to learn someone’s name as soon as they come in, and if I see them it’s ‘Good morning, how do you do?'”
Brian Fenwick, administrator of the Bethany Retirement Community where Smith lives, calls Smith a “leader in the community” and explains that “she’s very involved. She keeps us in line. She notices what’s going on and isn’t afraid to speak out.”
Across the web:
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