'Superagers' have different brains

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Often referred to as the “cognitive elite,” or “superagers,” sharp-thinking seniors close to either side of 100 have brains that could yield changes in memory care and treatment for diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's, according to new research.

Researchers at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine recently revealed their extensive study of memory-crisp seniors 80 and above are remarkably healthy and teeming with neuron-rich social intelligence. Some of the study participants had memories that are as good as those decades younger and with 90% fewer “tangles” than the brains of those with Alzheimer's, scientists said.

The study, published in the Jan. 28 issue of Journal of Neuroscience, is reportedly the first to quantify brain differences of superagers and “normal” older people. Researchers, whose findings have the potential to advance treatments for a host of neurological diseases, will continue their study under a new National Institutes of Health grant.