According to a study led by Chapman University’s Hillard Kaplan, the Tsimane people of the Amazon may have slower brain aging as a result of their active lifestyle. The study also suggests a “sweet spot” between energy in and energy out for good brain aging.
The brains of the Tsimane people, an indigenous group living in the lowlands of the Amazon, may age slower than those of people in industrialized societies, according to a study led by Hillard Kaplan, an anthropology and health economics professor at Chapman University. The study involved measuring the brain volume of 1,165 people aged over 40 from the Tsimane and neighboring Moseten people, who farm more and are more involved in modern markets than the Tsimane. The results showed that the Tsimane brains lost 2.3% of their volume per decade, compared with around 2.8% for the Moseten and about 3.5% for industrialized populations. Brain volumes largely increased with rising body mass index and cholesterol for the Tsimane and Moseten. Kaplan suggests there is a “sweet spot” between energy in and energy out, and that it is fine to build up a higher BMI if you expend a lot of energy too. Exercise and social engagement may also play a role in healthy aging.