Surprisingly, our brain cells start dying as we turn twenty. When we reach that age, the number of our neurons is increasingly dropping. But this is a natural process of aging that has no impact on our intellectual ability. Alternatively, our brain activity increases every year. There is a stopover on the way, though. According to scientists from the University of California, LA, when we turn 39, our thought processes stop gathering pace and decline slowly.
Health professionals say there is no link between the number of neurons and IQ level. It is with their condition that our IQ is linked. The fact is that neurons are covered with a fatty sheath (myelin) that works as electric cable isolation. Myelin helps neurons to conduct impulses from various receptors effectively. It means we are able to analyze and respond faster. After 40 years of age, this sheath gets weak and gradually wears out, resulting in slower reaction and thinking processes.
Scientists verified their theory as simple as a snap. They gathered a group of men aged 23-80 and asked them to snap their fingers as fast as they could. They compared the number of snaps they made within 10 seconds and found the quickest participants. The idea is simple – best performers have their impulses conducted to the brain faster.
According to the results of this experiment, researches created a diagram of brain activity to reveal its peak at the point of 39 years of age.
Myelin starts wearing out around 30, but our body is able to restore it at this age, – says George Bartzokis, professor for psychiatry at University of California. After 39 years of age, the restoration process weakens and the neurons cover ruins faster losing its ability to conduct frequent impulses. Look at professional athletes. They can retain their shape, but they lose their swiftness with age.
Scientists also assume that myelin destruction affects our memory, but they have no supporting evidence yet.
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