What can shorten human life

Neuroscience Too much brain activity shortens life

For the first time, researchers have found evidence that brain activity and lifespan are related. Scientists at the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School have shown in their studies on human brains, as well as those of mice and worms, that excessive activity in the brain is associated with shorter lifetimes, while suppressing such overactivity extends life.

Do we have to stop thinking?

These neural activities are related to the constant flickering of electrical currents and transmissions in the brain. Such overactivity can be found in Alzheimer's or bipolar disorders, for example, according to the scientists, who hope to find new approaches for therapies for such diseases.

The researchers expressly state that their study results do not allow any conclusions to be drawn as to whether or how a person's thoughts, personality or behavior affect their life expectancy. However, they point out that certain medications, behaviors, or meditation, for example, can extend lifespan by modulating neural activity.

More REST, longer life

The drugs would target the REST protein. It is already known that it has protective functions for the brain. Now the researchers have shown a link between overactivity and blocking the protein in animal experiments. That, in turn, led to previous deaths. More REST did the opposite. The studies on human brain cells also showed that centenarians had significantly more REST in the nuclei of their brain cells than people who died at the age of 70 or 80.

In total, the researchers examined several hundred donated brain tissue from people who died between the ages of 60 and over 100 years.

The results of the study were published in Nature.