Dr. Emily Rogalski, the upcoming Featured Expert on the CR Way Teleconferences, has made an important discovery. Rather than looking at what can go wrong with people’s brains as they get older, she looked at what can go right. She was able to identify SuperAgers in their eighties who could perform better on memory tests than people, 30 years younger. Far from being older people you feel sorry for – these are people who prompt you to say to yourself, “How do they do it? How can I get to be like that?”
The first step to becoming a SuperAger is to identify their characteristics. One clue to their extraordinary abilities is to look at a part of their brain called the anterior cingulate, which is thicker and more developed on the brain SuperAgers.
The anterior cingulate is the crossroads of the brain. It regulates communication between the evolutionarily old fight-or-flight area – the amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for higher levels of thought. The anterior cingulate mediates your feelings towards others – your ability to feel emotions like compassion and empathy. In fact, if you pray or meditate, you directly activate the anterior cingulate.
The brain SuperAgers were not all executives or college-educated, as you might expect. Could it be that all of them were profound believers in something?
Anger shuts down the anterior cingulate – perhaps those who have serene personalities are able to make the most of their anterior cingulate’s ability to regulate their brains positively.
We will talk more about the characteristics of brain SuperAgers at Dr. Rogalski’s teleconference on April 3. Meanwhile, take heart – CR Way Brain Boosters have big advantages that might make it easier not only to become a SuperAger, but also to set a new standard of brain health by incorporating the multiple approaches the CR Way offers to improve brain function.