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Women’s brains are ‘four years younger’ than men’s, study finds

This article was taken from: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/feb/04/womens-brains-are-four-years-younger-than-mens-study-finds

By Ian Sample Science editor

Analysis of metabolic brain age may explain differences in cognitive decline rate

Women’s brains are nearly four years younger than men’s, at least in how they burn fuel, according to scans performed by US researchers.

Scientists found that healthy women have a “metabolic brain age” that is persistently younger than men’s of the same chronological age. The difference is apparent from early adulthood and remains into old age.

The finding suggests that changes in how the brain uses energy over a person’s lifetime proceed more gradually in women than they do in men. While researchers are unsure of the medical consequences, it may help explain why women tend to stay mentally sharp for longer.

“Brain metabolism changes with age but what we noticed is that a good deal of the variation we see is down to sex differences,” said Marcus Raichle, a neurobiologist at Washington University school of medicine in St Louis. “If you look at how brain metabolism predicts a person’s age, women come out looking about four years younger than they are.”