Read the text below.
A recent study found that excessive brain activity could lead to a shorter life span.
Scientists at Harvard Medical School analyzed the brain tissues of people who died at 60 to over 100 years old. They examined what made the brains of people who lived longer different from those who died in their 60s or 70s. To do so, they looked at the brains’ gene expression patterns. These patterns dictate which genes are activated or not.
Results showed that participants who had lived longer than 85 years old showed lower levels of brain activity compared to those who died younger. The scientists thus concluded that limiting brain activity in old age is essential to living longer.
Upon investigation, the scientists found that a protein called REST, which suppresses brain activity and regulates genes, was lower in those who died before reaching their mid-80s.
To further understand how REST plays a role in one’s life span, the scientists experimented on worms and mice. When they stimulated the production of REST in the animals’ brains, the subjects lived longer. In contrast, when they blocked the production of REST, the animals had a shorter life span. Because of this, the scientists concluded that decreasing REST triggers brain activity and leads to a shorter life span, while increasing REST has the opposite effect.
These findings suggest that the REST protein could be targeted with drugs to treat age-related brain illnesses, like Alzheimer’s, or to address aging itself.
According to the scientists, the results could also have implications for yoga or meditation, which affects brain activities. These practices can serve as possible treatments for memory loss or as methods to prolong life span.