TUESDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Breakdowns in brain
connections may be the reason why your physical response times slow
as you age, a new study has found.
The decline occurs in an area of the brain called the corpus
callosum, which helps regulate "cross-talk" between the two sides
of the brain, said lead author Rachael Seidler, an associate
professor in the School of Kinesiology and psychology department at
the University of Michigan.
Normally, one side of the brain controls movement on the
opposite side of the body. For example, the left side of the brain
controls movement on the right side of the body.
But when regulation of cross-talk between the two sides of the
brain starts to break down with age, both sides of the brain talk
simultaneously while one side of the body tries to move, resulting
in slower response times, the researchers explained.
Seidler and colleagues studied the response times and brain
activity of adults aged 65 to 75 as they used computer joysticks,
and compared them to a group of 20-25 year olds.
They also used a functional MRI to image the blood-oxygen levels
in different parts of the brain, as a measurement of brain activity
in the older group.
"The more they recruited the other side of the brain, the slower they responded," Seidler said in a University of Michigan news release.
The study was published online recently in the journal
Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience.
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