The decline in brain connections only begins between the ages of 30 and 40 and not later than 25 years of age. (photo: clone)
A recent study, published in Nature Neuroscience, shows that our brain declines much later than previously thought. Researchers at the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) and the Mayo Clinic found that rather than after 25 years of age, this process occurs in the 30s and 40s.
The team reached this conclusion through precise measurements using a grid of 60 to 100 electrodes that can measure brain activity, which some epilepsy patients place on their brains (under the skull) in preparation for epilepsy surgery.
“By stimulating the electrodes with short currents, we can see which areas of the brain are responding abnormally. In this way, we can create a map of the areas that should and should not be removed during epilepsy surgery,” neurologist Frans Lijten from UMC Utrecht explained in a statement.
However, according to the researcher, this type of technology could be used to map a healthy human brain and that’s what they did.
If you stimulate an electrode in one area, a reaction occurs in another. This lets you know that the two regions are connected. You can measure how long the reaction takes. If you know the distance between two different regions of the brain, you can calculate the speed at which the signal travels,” said clinical technologist Dorian van Bloijs from UMC Utrecht.
From this analysis, the researchers found, among other things, that the connections in our brain are getting faster and faster: going from two meters per second in four-year-olds, to four meters per second in people between the ages of thirty and forty. .. Only after this age, there is a slowdown.
“Our brain continues to evolve for much longer than we thought,” says Van Bloegh.
The researchers also noted differences between brain regions. The frontal lobe, for example, the part of the brain responsible for thinking and performing tasks, develops longer than the area responsible for movement. That is, the evolution of speed is not a straight line, but a curve.
“We already knew that thanks to previous research, but now we have specific data,” Van Blowweg said.
Researchers have been trying to identify the connections in our brain for a long time. The results of this study provide important information about our central nervous system and open the possibility of making more realistic computer models of our brains.
This is because, in order for these models to work, in addition to information about the connections, accurate values about the speed of these connections are needed.
“We now have these numbers for the first time,” explains Lijten, “Using our data, researchers can make new and better computer models that increase our understanding of the brain. We hope our work will advance not only epilepsy research, but research on other brain disorders as well.”
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