Study: Aging brain hemispheres increase communication to maintain function

A new study published in Human Brain Mapping indicates that as the brain ages, it increases communication between the hemispheres to make up for the negative effects of aging, according to Medical press.

Other studies have shown that older brains feature more bilateral communication than younger brains, but this study “suggests that the aging brain maintains healthy cognitive function by increasing bilateral communication,” said lead author Simon Davis, PhD.

To conduct the study, researchers utilized trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to modify brain activity while participants completed a memory task. “When researchers applied TMS at a frequency that depressed activity in one memory region in the left hemisphere, communication increased with the same region in the right hemisphere, suggesting the right hemisphere was compensating to help with the task,” Medical Press reports.

“Good roads make for efficient travel, and the brain is no different,” Davis said. “By taking advantage of available pathways, aging brains may find an alternate route to complete the neural computations necessary for functioning.”

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