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Here’s a brain teaser: Surprising study shows reduced neuronal activity extends life

Aging, of course, affects the brain. But the brain seems to affect aging, too: Lower levels of neuronal firing increase longevity, a new study found.
Previous studies have hinted that excessive neuronal activity is a factor in dementia, and some Alzheimer’s experts recommend meditation as a possible way to slow disease progression. Source: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Say this about the kinds of molecular mayhem that we know underlie aging: Mechanisms like whether the ends of chromosomes fray (bad) and whether genes’ on-off status breaks down (really bad) at least sound like plausible ways to impair vital organs, from skin to brains and hearts, and produce the whole sorry mess known as aging.

On Wednesday, scientists reported a driver of aging that, in contrast, even the lead researcher diplomatically calls “counterintuitive”: neuronal activity. Aging, of course, affects the brain. But the brain seems to affect aging, too, they found: In creatures from worms to mice

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