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Experts find connection between brain age and premature death
Physicians are always looking for ways to predict premature deaths. Researchers have now found that by analyzing the so-called age of the human brain, the risk of premature death can be determined.
The University of Edinburgh researchers found that determining the age of our brain can help experts predict the likelihood of premature death. The doctors released a press release on the results of their study.
Old age of the brain leads to poorer physical and mental health
If people's brains are older than their actual age, they are at an increased risk of premature death. Such people generally have poorer physical and mental health, the experts explain.
Volume of the brain suggests age
For their work, the scientists used a combination of MRI scans with machine learning algorithms in order to be able to estimate a person's so-called brain age compared to their real age. Based on the volume of brain tissue, it is possible that the age of the brain will be determined, the researchers say. This can predict a possible future risk of premature death or poor health, the authors explain.
People with increased brain age often die before the age of 80
When tested on a group of older adults from Scotland, it was found that the greater the difference between the computer-generated brain age and the actual age, the greater the likelihood that the affected person would die before the age of 80. People with older brain ages also had lower lung capacity and slower walking speeds.
Results can lead to lifestyle changes
In the future, the new technology could be used by doctors to determine whether a patient has a healthy brain age or whether the age has advanced too far. Similar to the Body Mass Index (BMI), results can then be used to change the patient's lifestyle through counseling.
The age of the heart can be determined by a test on the Internet
The age of our organs affects our general life expectancy. For example, smokers should have lungs that are 20 years older than the people affected, the experts say. There is now even the possibility of people answering questionnaires about exercise and nutrition online in order to get an assessment of the age of their heart.
At the moment the tests are still too imprecise and too expensive
However, more fine-tuning to increase accuracy is currently required before the new method can be used as a screening tool, the study authors explain. There is currently an error limit of around five years in the results. In addition, MRI scans are currently still too expensive as a screening tool, the scientists add. The doctors hope that these costs will be reduced in the future.
More research is needed
In the long run, it would be great if the prediction were accurate enough to predict the individual risk of individuals. At the moment, however, this method is not precise enough to be able to use it in this way on an individual level, the scientists add. (as)