Excess neuron connections inside the brain are cut off, or pruned, as we age with only those that are essential for transmitting long distance signals preserved.
In a study that involved volunteers up to age of 40 years, the researchers found that such pruning takes place earlier in the brains of teenage girls, thereby improving their brain function sooner compared to boys. The study has been published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.
"Long-distance connections are difficult to establish and maintain but are crucial for fast and efficient processing. If you think about a social network, nearby friends might give you very similar information, might hear the same news from different people. People from different cities or countries are more likely to give you novel information. In the same way, some information flow within a brain module might be redundant whereas information from other modules, say integrating the optical information about a face with the acoustic information of a voice, is vital in making sense of the world", Dr Marcus Kaiser, who was part of the study, said.