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People with more active brains have shorter lifespans, study suggests

| | October 18, 2019

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

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 … 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.

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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.

Aside from the promising avenues for drug research, Yanker says the work suggests habits and behaviors that affect the brain’s neural activity—like yoga and meditation—could potentially prolong lifespan.

Read full, original post: The More Active Your Brain, the Shorter Your Lifespan May Be, a New Study Says

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