Study suggests women's brains are 'younger' than men's brains

A machine-learned algorithm showed that women's brains were on average about 3.8 years younger than their chronological ages

A machine-learned algorithm showed that women's brains were on average about 3.8 years younger than their chronological ages

The finding is "great news for many women", says Roberta Diaz Brinton, who wasn't connected with the study and directs the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona Health Sciences.

The findings still need to be confirmed in follow-up studies.

Scientists have just found a new distinction between the brains of the two sexes: age-related changes to the brain occur more slowly in women than in men. The findings, available online the week of February 4 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could be one clue to why women tend to stay mentally sharp longer than men.

It "could mean that the reason women don't experience as much cognitive decline in later years is because their brains are effectively younger", said Goyal.

The brain's major fuel source is sugar, or glucose, but exactly how the brain uses glucose changes with age.

On average, women's brains appear to be about three years younger than those of men at the same chronological age.

People tested in the study ranged from 20 to 82 - and the relative youth of women's brains was seen in the young ones too. They used the women's data as a baseline, and estimated the men's ages based exclusively on their metabolism data.

The researchers are now following a group of adults as they age to see whether people with younger-looking brains are less likely to develop thinking problems. Next, they entered women's data into this algorithm, and told it to calculate the metabolic ages of the women.

They employed an artificial intelligence algorithm to find a relationship between age and brain metabolism by feeding it the men's ages and brain metabolism data. "Rather, it seems that women's brains start off at a younger age when they reach adulthood, and they keep that throughout the remainder of their adulthood, basically buying them a few extra years".

Women's brains appeared about four years younger, on average.

Women tend to have more youthful brains than their male counterparts - at least when it comes to metabolism.

More studies are now needed to better understand this brain-age difference and whether it affects the risk of age-related brain disease, such a Alzheimer's.

A group of scientists believe the brain metabolisms of women take longer to slow than men's, which could explain why they tend to stave off cognitive decline for longer.

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