A cognitive super ager is defined as being over 80 years old with performance on memory tests comparable with people two to three decades younger.
Some changes in our cognitive ability are considered a normal part of aging. We develop many mental abilities that peak around the age of 30 and then on average subtly decline with age. These age-related changes commonly include overall slowness in thinking and difficulties in sustaining attention, multitasking, holding information in mind and word finding.
What is a Cognitive Super Ager?
Some common traits of super agers versus age peers include:
* Having a brain that seems to defy wear and tear better than the average brain
* A thicker cingulate cortex (Cingulate cortex is considered important for integration of information related to memory, attention, cognitive control, and motivation)
* Increased density of cells called von Economo neurons which are linked to emotional intelligence and awareness
* Brains that shrink at a slower rate (1.06% vs 2.24% per year)
* Resistance to age-related tau degeneration and tau tangles in the cortex which are a hall mark of Alzheimer's disease (Individuals with significant memory impairment due to Alzheimer's disease showed nearly 100 times more tangles in the entorhinal cortex compared to SuperAgers)
* Larger hippocampus
* Increased brain resiliency
* Enhanced psychological well-being
An enhanced brain resiliency is created by:
* Higher level and better quality education
* Choosing occupations that deal in complex facts and data
* Consuming a Mediterranean style diet
* Engaging in leisure activities
* Socializing with others
* Exercising regularly
* Avoiding head injuries such as concussions or traumatic brain injuries
* Correcting for any hearing or vision deficits
Following a health brain lifestyle is very important to maintaining a healthy brain which creates a better opportunity to become a cognitive super ager.
Do you know where your brain stands compared to your peers?
Talk to one of our therapists at Honsberger Physio+ to set up your comprehensive cognitive exam and discuss how it can be part of your annual cognitive health check up.