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Sex May Help the Aging Brain

Overall, sexually-active men and women performed better on the tasks than their sexually-inactive counterparts.

For the men, sexual activity was significantly associated with better performance on the number sequencing and word recall tests. But for the women, the association was significant for the recall task only.

Why were the results different for men and women? “Gender differences in cognitive function may be underpinned by sex differences in brain development and structure,” the authors wrote. It’s possible that the physiological aspects of sex, such as hormones, might affect men’s and women’s brains differently and, in turn, influence their cognitive function.

More research is needed, however. The scientists noted that their study is a “starting point” and might spur healthcare providers to talk with their older patients about sexual health.

Print this article or view it as a PDF file here: Sex May Help the Aging Brain


Age and Ageing

Wright, Hayley and Rebecca A. Jenks

“Sex on the brain! Associations between sexual activity and cognitive function in older age”

(Full-text. First published online: January 28, 2016)

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