Use it and lose it: Study believes using your brain will kill you

In a completely unbelievable reverse, researchers believe that too much brain activity at an advanced age will kill you. 



Since time immemorial, the generally-held logic is that one must keep their brain active, lest it turns into mush. However, there’s a solitary study that believes that theory is bogus.

The research believes that excessive use of the brain in your twilight years is actually doing it harm.

“The completely shocking and puzzling thing about this new paper is… is what you think of as keeping you cognitively normal. There’s the idea that you want to keep your brain active in later life,” said Michael McConnell, a neuroscientist at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, who was not involved in the study. “The thing that is super unexpected is…limiting neural activity is a good thing in healthy ageing. It’s very counterintuitive.”

The Washington Post looked into this nonsense theory, noting that the “researchers at Harvard Medical School analysed brain tissue donated to human brain banks by people ranging in age from their 60s and 70s to centenarians who lived to be 100 or older. They found people who died before their mid-80s had lower levels in their brains of a protein called REST that tamps down genes involved in sparking brain activity, compared to the very oldest people. REST had already been shown to be protective against Alzheimer’s disease. But they weren’t sure whether REST somehow protected people from death or was just a sign of further ageing.”

“I think this is overactivity, out-of-control excitation — it’s not good for the brain. You want the neurons to be active, when and where you want them to be active, not to be just generally firing off,” said Cynthia Kenyon, vice president of ageing research at Calico Labs, who praised the study design but, heavily salted her hypothesis.

Kenyon noted what we knew most about the erosion of brain tissue in old age, is not much. She believes that the nervous system is just one of the tissues shorn by age, and the lack of subtlety in the study. While we know too much is exactly that, and too little is dangerous, what we’re left with is the unknown middle. Perhaps the answer is to maintain brain activity, but not show off. Stick to the regular crossword, not the cryptic. Stick to books like on layered subtext, and find the company of midweek movies starring Bruce Willis.
Take it easy, yeah?
Share via