Managing emotions better could prevent pathological aging
Negative emotions, anxiety and depression are thought to promote the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and dementia. But what is their impact on the brain and can their deleterious effects be limited? Neuroscientists have observed the activation of the brains of young and older adults when confronted with the psychological suffering of others. The neuronal connections of the older adults show significant emotional inertia: negative emotions modify them excessively and over a long period of time, particularly in the posterior cingulate cortex and the amygdala, two brain regions strongly involved in the management of emotions and autobiographical memory. These results indicate that a better management of these emotions — through meditation for example — could help limit neurodegeneration.