Managing people helps develop better brains

September 9th, 2011 - 1:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 9 (IANS) Managing other people at the workplace promotes brain health, protects memory and the learning centre well into old age.

University of New South Wales (UNSW) researchers have identified a clear link between managerial experience and larger size of one’s hippocampus, the brain area responsible for learning and memory — at the age of 80.

These findings bolster our understanding that mental activity promotes brain health, possibly warding off neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, according to an UNSW statement.

“This could be linked to the unique mental demands of managing people, which requires continuous problem solving, short term memory and a lot of emotional intelligence…, says Michael Valenzuela, leader of regenerative neuroscience in UNSW’s School of Psychiatry.

The research comprises the doctoral work of Chao Suo, supervised by Valenzuela, along with Perminder Sachdev’s Memory and Ageing Study based in Sydney.

Using MRI imagery in a group of 75- to 92-year-olds, researchers found larger hippocampal volumes in those with managerial experience compared to those without, even after accounting for any of a number of possible alternative explanations.

The study was presented at the Brain Sciences UNSW symposium Brain Plasticity - The Adaptable Brain.

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