Brains Get Noisier as They Age

Study finds neural complexity generates more cranial static
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 10, 2008 1:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – Just because you can't hear it doesn't mean your brain isn't making noise. It is, and scientists using high-tech gear to record it have now discovered that it increases as you mature, reports LiveScience. A comparison of noise generated by groups of children and young adults indicates that brain noise, once dismissed by neuroscientists as inconsequential static, increases along with cranial complexity.

"What we discovered is that brain maturation correlates with increased brain signal variability," said the study's leader. "This doesn't mean the brain is working less efficiently. It's showing greater functional variability, which is indicative of enhanced neural complexity." What that means, he tells LiveScience, is that "the brain's kind of exploring what it can do" by trying out different possibilities. He adds that there is some evidence that noise levels drop with Alzheimer’s but go up with schizophrenia.