Being active in youth may change the inner workings of brain cells much later in life and sharpen some types of thinking, according to a remarkable new neurological study involving rats.
The study suggests that the effects of youthful exercise on the brain could linger deep into adulthood, potentially providing a buffer against the declines in brain health and memory that otherwise occur with age.
Most of us who are past the age of 40 are aware from doleful personal experience that mental acuity wanes as the decades pass. The deficits are often subtle — names and other nouns slide just out of our mind’s reach — but pervasive.
Some scientists have wondered whether the effects of this decline might be lessened if we started the downward slope from a higher peak, a condition that has been termed having a “cognitive reserve.”