October 17, 2019 - 18:47 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - There are many factors that influence how long somebody lives. Some, like their genes, are out of their control. Others, like their lifestyle and environment, are a bit easier to alter.
A new paper published in Nature finds another factor that falls somewhere in between those extremes. It suggests that excessive neural activity in the brain is linked to a shorter lifespan, and that suppressing that extra activity could prolong it. The finding is preliminary, and will require far more research before it results in any concrete health recommendations—but it opens up the possibility of using either drugs or behavioral interventions, such as meditation, to alter the brain’s activity, and possibly slow the effects of aging, Time says.
The link between nervous system activity and longevity wasn’t totally unexpected. The mechanism that controls brain excitation is closely related to the one that controls metabolism, which has long been linked to lifespan, says study co-author Dr. Bruce Yanker, a professor of genetics and neurology at Harvard Medical School.
But the fact that less brain activity was associated with longevity at first seemed “counterintuitive” to Yanker, who assumed an active brain would be linked with better health and vitality. After he and his colleagues examined the brain tissue of hundreds of deceased human subjects, grouped by their age of death, they found that the tissue of those who lived longer lives, dying at 90 or 100, suggested they had experienced less neural activity than those who died in their 70s or 80s.