Enjoy retirement Healthy aging

Brain creates new cells throughout life, new study shows

This article first appeared in Liaison, our member newsletter.

Healthy older adults can generate just as many new brain cells as young teenagers. That’s the finding of a new study by researchers from Columbia University.

The study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, analyzed the brains of healthy individuals aged 14 to 79. The researchers found older adults have a similar ability as younger people to make thousands of new neurons.

The researchers noted that older individuals form fewer new blood vessels within the brain. This finding may mean less ability for new neurons to make connections.

More research is needed, but this study is encouraging news about the prospects for life-long brain health.

Three proven strategies to keep your brain healthy as you age

  1. Exercise – Combining aerobic and resistance exercise of moderate intensity for at least 45 minutes, as many days of the week as possible, has been shown to boost brain power in those 50+. Dancing seems to reverse some aspects of brain aging, research shows.
  1. Healthy eating – Research by the University of Illinois discovered that middle-aged people who have higher levels of lutein – a nutrient that is found in green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, and eggs and avocados – had similar neural responses to younger individuals.
  1. Playing a musical instrument – Baycrest Health Sciences research has revealed that playing a musical instrument may help older adults ward off age-related cognitive declines.

Brain health is part of healthy aging, which is a priority for us at RTOERO as we work together with our members to create better lives for Canada’s education retirees.

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