"Super agers" is the name of a new study involving men and women who are in their 80s and 90s with memory and brains that are much younger. CBS News reports Aug. 22 that researchers are examining individuals with this rare trait to learn ways in preventing memory loss.
So far evidence of "super agers" suggest they have minimal amounts of age-related plaques in addition to more brain mass in regards to attention in attention and memory.
"We're living long but we're not necessarily living well in our older years and so we hope that the SuperAging study can find factors that are modifiable and that we'll be able to use those to help people live long and live well," Emily Rogalski, the super agers study lead and neuroscientist from Northwestern University's cognitive neurology and Alzheimer's disease center in Chicago.
The super agers study is seeking volunteers, but so far only 10 percent of those who've applied are qualified. Rogalski said out of 400 seniors that have been screened, only 35 of them have been eligible. This goes to show how small the population of "super agers" is out there.
Would-be participants of the test must undergo a series of mental tests. If accepted, they undergo occasional imaging scans and other medical tests. They also agree to donate their brains after death.
Memory tests include lists of 15 or so words.
"Super agers can remember at least nine of them 30 minutes later, which is really impressive because often older adults in their 80s can only remember just a couple," Rogalski said.
Seniors who are "super agers" have a reduced chance of getting Alzheimer's disease. Findings have shown they're more energetic, have a positive outlook, and are socially engaged.