The brains of SuperAgers had many more von economo neurons, a rare type of brain cell, which so far has been found in humans, great apes, elephants, whales, dolphins and songbirds. The corkscrew-like von economo neurons are thought to allow rapid communication across the brain. Another theory is that the neurons give humans and great apes an intuitive advantage in social situations.
The von economo neurons were found in the anterior cingulate cortex, which forms a collar in the front of the brain linking the cognitive, reasoning side with the emotional, feeling side. The anterior cingulate is thought to be important for regulating emotions and paying attention — another key to good memory.
Taken together, these discoveries appear to point to a genetic link to becoming a SuperAger, Gefen said. However, she added: “The only way to confirm whether SuperAgers are born with larger entorhinal neurons would be to measure these neurons from birth until death. That obviously isn’t possible.”
Studies of meditation and mitochondria show that as people live in wiser relationship to their thoughts and emotions stress is reduced. The main stress being whether things are in hand to manage or overwhelming. Those who feel overwhelmed have reduced mitochondria. Getting past feelings of being overwhelmed the mitochondria can even to a degree rebound for better longevity.
In addition, I quoted from the article: "colorful 3D scans are taken of the brain and cognitive testing and brain scans are repeated every year or so”. Not something one would do with cadavers I would think.
These spindle-shaped brain cells, called von Economo neurons—named for the man who first described them—are found only in human beings, great apes and a handful of other notably gregarious creatures .
Von Economo neurons (VENs) are rare cells found in human anterior cingulate cortex. VEN densities do not change throughout aging in individuals with average cognition . “SuperAgers” (age 80+) show higher density of VENs than younger cases (age 20–60).
Bob, I actually had read that elsewhere. The topic fascinated me so I got into reading more materials on it.