Neuroscience News reports on a recent study showing that the key to staying mentally sharp as we age is keeping the brain's white matter robust. White matter is consituited by connections between neurons, so the more "firing and wiring" of neurons we can facilitate by staying mentally challenged through the years, the better off we'll be as our bodies age. From the article:
According to the findings, joining distant parts of the brain together with better wiring improves mental performance, suggesting that intelligence is not found in a single part of the brain.
However a loss of condition of this wiring or ‘white matter’, the billions of nerve fibres that transmit signals around the brain, can negatively affect our intelligence by altering these networks and slowing down our processing speed.
The research by the University of Edinburgh shows for the first time that the deterioration of white matter with age is likely to be a significant cause of age-related cognitive decline.
The research team used three different brain imaging techniques in compiling the results, including two that have never been used before in the study of intelligence.
Read the entire article at Neuroscience News.