New Technology Aims to Slow Brain Ageing

Our lifestyles can keep us healthier for longer, but now scientists are investigating if new technology can also slow the brain’s ageing process. This technology tracks brain changes over time, offering insights and potential preventative measures.

In the serene city of Loma Linda, California, 76-year-old Marijke and her husband Tom embody a lifestyle contributing to longevity. Loma Linda, identified as a Blue Zone, is home to a community of Seventh-Day Adventists known for their extended lifespans. They adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and prioritize holistic health.

Dr. Gary Fraser from the University of Loma Linda highlights that this community enjoys an increased “healthspan” – additional years in good health. Regular social interactions, educational lectures, and exercise classes are integral to their lifestyle.

Judy, a resident of an assisted living facility, emphasized the importance of socialization for brain health. “What I didn’t realize was how important socialization is to your brain… without it, it seems to shrink and go away,” she said. Science supports that social interactions can prevent cognitive decline.

Advancements in AI and big data are revolutionizing brain health. Andrei Irimia, associate professor at the University of Southern California, has developed computer models using MRI scans and AI to predict brain ageing and disease trajectories. These models offer early diagnosis possibilities, crucial for preventative healthcare.

Private companies are also leveraging this technology. Brainkey, founded by Owen Philips, offers MRI-based brain age assessments worldwide. Philips believes advancements in MRI technology and AI will make brain health tracking more accessible.

In an analysis by Prof. Irimia, my brain age was eight months older than my chronological age. Conversely, Brainkey’s estimate indicated my brain was a year younger. Despite varying results, these technologies hold promise for personalized brain health management, potentially extending our healthspan and enhancing our quality of life.