Study suggests older adults show greater mental well-being despite cognitive decline

Despite displaying signs of poorer cognitive performance, older adults tend to have greater mental well-being compared to younger adults, according to a new study

A study published this month in Psychology and Aging by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine indicates that adults over 60 showed greater mental well-being but worse cognitive performance than younger adults. Adults in their 20s tended to have more experience with anxiety, depression and loneliness than seniors. 

Researchers sampled 62 healthy young adults in their 20s and 54 healthy seniors over the age of 60. The study analyzed the mental health of the participants and had them perform several cognitive tasks, using electroencephalography (EEG) to measure their brain activity. Anxiety, depression and loneliness were the mental well-being factors measured in each participant. 

Older adults had more trouble completing the cognition tests but displayed higher levels of mental well-being. EEG results showed that the older participants had more activity in their anterior area of the default mode network, which is the part of the brain where individuals may daydream or ruminate. The default mode is typically suppressed when an individual is focused on a task. 

“We wanted to better understand the interplay between cognition and mental health across aging, and whether they rely on activation of similar or different brain areas,” said Jyoti Mishra, PhD, director of the NEATLabs and senior author of the study, in a statement

Continue reading at the New York Post.


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