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Researchers Study Seniors With Youthful Memory Skills

  • VOA News

Northwestern University researchers say some elderly people lose brain volume a lot more slowly than others at the same age and continue to exhibit solid memory skills.

Researchers are studying people they call "super-agers" — those 80 and older whose thicker-than-average brains at that age still make them as "sharp as a tack."

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago say the memory skills of "super-agers" are on a par with people in their 50s and 60s.

The experts found that these exceptional elderly patients lose brain volume a lot more slowly than others at the same age, giving them a thicker cortex.

The cortex is the outer layer of the brain where such functions as memory and problem-solving are concentrated.

The experts are not clear about what leads some people to lose brain volume at a slower pace than others. But they believe genetics and growing up in a healthy environment during early childhood may be factors.

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