Blood vessels behind eyes are secret to the age of the human brain

Times of India:

The secret behind the actual age of your brain is inside your eyes.

Scientists have found that the width of blood vessels in the retina, located at the back of the eye, may indicate brain health years before the onset of dementia.

Retinal blood vessels share similar size, structure, and function with blood vessels in the brain and can provide a way of examining brain health in living humans.

Individuals who had wider retinal venules showed evidence of general cognitive deficits, with lower scores on numerous measures of neuropsychological functioning, including verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory and executive function.

Surprisingly, the data revealed that people who had wider venules at age 38 also had lower IQ in childhood, a full 25 years earlier.

Younger people who score low on intelligence tests, such as IQ, tend to be at higher risk for poorer health and shorter lifespan, but factors like socioeconomic status and health behaviours don’t fully account for the relationship.

Psychological scientist Idan Shalev of Duke University wondered whether intelligence might serve as a marker indicating the health of the brain, and specifically the health of the system of blood vessels that provides oxygen and nutrients to the brain.

Read the whole story: Times of India

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