November 2019 Newsletter
Women’s brains appear three years younger than men’s
Time wears differently on women’s and men’s brains. While the brain tends to shrink with age, men’s diminish faster than women’s. The brain’s metabolism slows as people grow older, and this, too, may differ between men and women. A study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis finds that women’s brains appear to be about three years younger than men’s of the same chronological age, metabolically speaking. The findings could be one clue to why women tend to stay mentally sharp longer than men.
Stressed out? Your brain could be shrinking as a result
When we experience heightened levels of stress, our body produces the stress hormone cortisol in excess. This, in turn, produces symptoms such as poor sleep quality, weight gain, reduced skin healing, high blood pressure, etc. Researchers explored how excess cortisol may be tied to changes in our thinking ability as well. The study involved more than 2,200 people — at an average age of 48. In addition to providing blood samples and MRI scans, they were instructed to take part in a test which measured their memory power, attention, visual perception, and more.
Sense of touch generates powerful, long-lasting memories
Touch is perhaps the most intimate of the senses. When you grasp or brush against an object—anything from an outstretched hand to a leather-bound book—you are physically as close to it as you can possibly be. At that moment, specialized skin cells convey a wealth of information, such as shape, texture, size, and weight. Yet when you stop touching that object, much of that information appears to fade away rather quickly. After a few days, you may only be able to bring a vague impression to mind. It would seem then that the sense of touch is largely useful in the moment, and not much after that.