Research sheds light on healthy brain ageing

Native Americans who reside in lowland Bolivia’s tropical forests have some of the lowest rates of heart and brain disease ever discovered by science. A recent USC study on two of these cultures, the Tsimane and Moseten, found that there are ideal amounts of food intake and exercise that encourage healthy brain ageing and reduce the chance of disease.
According to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Humans now have better access to food, less physical labour, and health care than ever before. But due to eating more and doing less exercise slower cognitive ageing and smaller brain sizes are linked to obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
“The lives of our pre-industrial ancestors were punctured by limited food availability,” said Andrei Irimia, an assistant professor of gerontology, biomedical engineering, quantitative/computational biology and neuroscience at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and co-corresponding author of the study. “Humans historically spent a lot of time exercising out of necessity to find food, and their brain aging profiles reflected this lifestyle.”
The Moseten: A link between pre- and post-industrialized societies
“The Moseten serves as an important intermediary population that allows us to compare a wide spectrum of lifestyle and health care factors. This is more advantageous than a straight comparison between the Tsimane and the industrialized world,” Irimia said.
Surprisingly, Obesity and somewhat higher levels of “bad cholesterol” were linked to larger brain sizes for age among the Tsimane. Yet, this could be because, on average, people in developing nations have more muscle mass than people in developed nations who have similar BMIs.
Even yet, the authors believe that the Tsimane and Moseten are getting closer to the “sweet spot” or equilibrium between regular activity and food plenty. This may be important for maintaining a healthy brain as we grow.

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