Women's Brains Stay Sharper Longer Than Men's, New Study Finds

The study found women's brains were younger metabolically than men's

The study found women's brains were younger metabolically than men's

While age reduces the metabolism of all brains, women retain a higher rate throughout the lifespan, researchers reported Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A new study suggests that, by at least one measure, women's brains are biologically younger than men's of the same age.

"It's not that men's brains age faster - they start adulthood about three years older than women, and that persists throughout life", Goyal told the news outlet. The difference is consistent from early adulthood into the senior years, reports the Guardian.

Our bodies use the pair of chemicals to sustain brain development as we grow from children to adults via a process known as aerobic glycolysis.

"The average difference in calculated brain age between men and women is significant and reproducible, but it is only a fraction of the difference between any two individuals", Goyal said. Having a younger brain for longer could make the brain more vulnerable to certain things as well.

The US team looked at PET (Positron Emission Tomography) brain scan images from 205 men and women ranging in age from 20 to 82.

The team first trained the algorithm by feeding it men's ages and brain metabolism, and then fed in female brain metabolism data.

As brain metabolism decreases in these women, Brinton says, there's an increase in the sticky proteins that are associated with Alzheimer's.

The algorithm guessed that the female brains were aged around 3.8 years younger than their actual, chronological age. They found that the algorithm could closely predict a person's chronological age based on their brain's "metabolic age".

Still, Goyal noted that the difference between men and women's brain ages was relatively small compared with other well-known sex differences, such as height.

The relative youthfulness of female brains was detectable even when comparing men and women in their 20s, the researchers said.

It may explain why older men see a bigger drop in their memory and language skills than women, whose younger brains may protect them from forgetfulness for longer.

'What we don't know is what it means.

It "could mean that the reason women don't experience as much cognitive decline in later years is because their brains are effectively younger", said Goyal.