Brain Halves Increase Communication to Compensate for Aging

The bilateral communication between different distant regions of brain compensates the negative aspects of aging in older adults. Researchers from Duke University found that aging brain preserves cognitive function by increasing the communication in different parts of the brain. The reports of this study are published in the journal Human Brain Mapping. Researchers used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – TMS (brain simulation technique) on healthy older adults to regulate brain activity while they were performing a memory task.

When TMS was applied at a frequency, one region of memory in the left hemisphere showed depressed activity and the same region in the right hemisphere showed increased communication which suggests right hemisphere compensates to help with the task. In contrast, when the prefrontal site was excited, there was an increase in communication only in the local network regions in the left hemisphere which further suggests communication between the hemispheres is an intentional process occurs on an “as needed” basis. This bilateral communication shows a strong evidence that brain works efficiently in the later stages of life with the help of structural neuroplasticity.

Lead author Simon Davis added “Good roads make for efficient travel, and the brain is no different. By taking advantage of available pathways, aging brains may find an alternate route to complete the neural computations necessary for functioning”.

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