The brain changes over the years. For example, a baby’s brain is not much smaller than an adult’s, but it has many more neurons.

The problem is that these neurons are not fully functional because they are not effectively connected to each other. As we grow and learn, neurons connect and gradual synaptic pruning processes occur, which means that many neurons die, almost half, while those that are part of what we could call “neural highways” are strengthened .

However, this does not mean that we lose neurons forever. Thanks to neurogenesis, new nerve cells continue to be born and grow in our brains. Obviously, the rate of neurogenesis decreases over time. It is estimated that when old age is reached, neurogenesis will be reduced by 25%. However, the brain does not age in the same way in men and women.

There are functional differences in the brain between men and women

Although we cannot speak of a “female” or “male” brain, we know that there are some differences in the way the brain works in both women and men. This was confirmed by a study conducted at the University of California, based on more than 46,000 brain scans.

These neuroscientists have found that women’s brains are most active in two regions: the limbic areas related to emotions and mood, and the prefrontal cortex, linked to decision making, problem solving and planning. complex behaviors. In the case of men, the most active brain areas were the visual and coordination centers. But the differences don’t end there, men’s brains have also been found to grow faster.

The male brain ages first

Another team of neuroscientists, this time from the University of Edinburgh, has discovered that there is a kind of genetic calendar that controls the way our brain changes throughout life.

To identify this genetic calendar of the brain, they analyzed gene expression in samples of brain tissue at all stages of human life, from development in the womb to 78 years of age. Then they discovered that there is a model for life. In fact, most of the changes in brain gene expression were completed during middle age.

This genetic calendar controls how and when genes are expressed in the brain during different phases of a person’s life, in order to perform a series of essential functions. In fact, the genetic calendar is so precise that it allows one to predict a person’s age simply by analyzing the genes found in a sample of brain tissue.

And the most curious thing is that this genetic calendar of brain aging is slightly delayed in women, compared to that of men. This means that the male brain ages faster. In fact, another study conducted at the University of Szeged found that the subcortical structures of the male brain age faster, which could explain why men are more susceptible to the development of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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