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为何接受教育能使智力免受大脑萎缩的影响?

(2010-03-26 13:15:57)
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                Why May Education Protect Against Effects of the Shrinking Brain

                         为何接受教育能使智力免受大脑萎缩的影响?

  It is know that the brain shrinks as the body ages, but the effects on mental ability are different from person to person. Interestingly, in a study of eldly men and women, those who had more education actually had more brain shrinkage.

  大脑随年龄的增长而萎缩是众所周知的事实,但是这对智力的影响因人而异.有趣的是,一项有关老人的研究表明,实际上接受过较多教育的人大脑萎缩得较多。

  Study auther Dr.Edward Coffey, a professor of neurology at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit said "The finding suggests that education allows people to withstand more brain-tissue loss before their mental functioning begins to break down."

  研究报告的作者,底特律的亨利·福特健康中心的精神病学和神经病学教授爱德华·科菲医生说:“这项研究成果表明,接受过教育的人在大脑功能开始崩溃之前更能经受得住大脑组织的丧失。”

  Examining brain scans of 320 healthy men and women ages 66 to 90,researchers found that for each year of education the subjects had, there was greater shrinkage of outer layer of the brain known as the cortex. Yet on tests of cognition and memory, all participants scored in the range indicating normal.

  研究人员对320名年龄在66岁到90岁的身体健康的男子和女子的脑部扫描X光片研究后发现,受试者的受教育经历每多一年,其大脑外层叫做脑皮层的部位就多一份萎缩.然而,所有受试者的认知能力和记忆能力的测试分数均在正常范围以内。

  "Everyone has some degree of brain shrinkage," Coffey said."People lose (on average) 2.5 percent per decade starting in adulthood."

  科菲说:“每个人都有某种程度的大脑萎缩。人成年后,每十年平均萎缩2.5%。”

  There is,however,a "remarkable range" of shrinkage among people who show no signs of mental decline, Coffey noted. Overall healthy, he said, accounts for some differences in brain size. Alcohol or drug use, as well as medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, contribute to braintissue loss throughout adulthood.

  然而,科菲指出,在没有智力衰退迹象的人中有“很明显的”大脑萎缩现象。他说,整体的健康水平说明大脑体积存在着某些差别。嗜酒或吸毒,以及像糖尿病和高血压之类的疾病都会影响整个成年期大脑组织的丧失。

  In the absence of such medical conditions,Coffey said,education level helps explain the range of brain shrinkage exhibited among the mentally-fit elderly. The more-educated can withstand greater loss.

  科菲称,排除掉这类疾病方面的因素,教育水平的高低有助于解释在智力健康的老年人中出现大脑萎缩的程度。接受过较多教育的人能承受较多的脑组织萎缩。

  Coffey and colleagues gauged shrinkage of the cortex by measuring the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain. The greater the amount of fluid, the greater the cortical shrinkage.

  科菲和同事们通过测量大脑周围脑脊液的体积而测算出脑皮层萎缩的程度。脑脊液越多,脑皮层萎缩得越多。

  For example, Coffey's team reported, among subjects of the same sex and similar age and skull size, those with 16 years of education had 8 percent more cerebrospinal fluid compared with those who have four years of schooling.

  科菲领导的研究小组发表的报告说,在性别相同、年龄相似和脑壳体积相差无几的受试者中,接受过16 年教育的人比接受过4年教育的人多8%到10%的脑脊液。

  Of course, achieving a particular education level is not the definitive measure of someone's mental capacity. And, said Coffey, education can be "a  proxy for many things". More-educated people, he noted, are often less likely to have habits, such as smoking, that harm overall health.

  当然,具备某种特定的教育水平并不能确定某人具有多大的智力。科菲说,接受过教育能在“很多事物上表现出来”。他指出,受教育程度较高的人不太可能染上像抽烟之类的对全身健康有害的习惯。

  According to Coffey, people should strive throughout life to keep their brains alert by exposing themselves to new experiences. Traveling is one way to stimulate the brain, he said; a less adventuresome way is to do crossword puzzles.

  据科菲说,人的一生应该不断地努力, 通过新的生活体验使大脑处于警觉状态。旅游是激活大脑的一种方法,较少冒险的方法是玩拼字游戏。 

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