According to a study published on Frontiers in Human Neuroscience earlier this year, fatigue and brain activation are both influenced by age and gender.
Kessler Foundation researchers conducted this novel research in order to study the relationship between age and fatigue by using both self-report data and neuroimaging.
This team of researchers is the first to ever report on the effects of age and gender on both the trait and state of fatigue.
What “state” refers to here is the assessment of a subject’s instantaneous fatigue experience during testing.
As for “trait,” it is the assessment of how much fatigue the subject experiences over a longer period of time, usually throughout the month before the testing.
There were 43 total participants, both men and women, with ages between 20 and 63 and all in good health.
Their state fatigue was measured via fMRI scans as they were performing a challenging cognitive test.
The experiment showed that older people tend to experience less state fatigue.
About this, the director of the Ortenzio Center, Dr. Glenn Wylie, shared that “Our neuroimaging data show that the role of the middle frontal areas of the brain change with age. Younger people may use these areas in order to combat fatigue, but this isn’t the case with older individuals. Moreover, the results suggest women show greater resilience when faced with a rather fatiguing task. This study’s an important first step towards explaining some of the differences reported in the literature of fatigue, by proving that state and trait measures of fatigue measure different aspects of fatigue, and that both age and gender appear to affect the relationship between state fatigue and brain activation.”
In other words, there appears to be no correlation between age and MFIS score but the older the individual, the less state fatigue they experience.
Older people report less fatigue while performing cognitive tasks and the neuroimaging data indicate that this is because the role of the middle frontal areas of the brain change throughout our lives.
With that being said, younger people use the same areas to fight off fatigue but older people do not.
Gender interacted with VAS-F in a few different areas as well, suggesting that more activation in women means less fatigue while in men, the opposite is the case, concluding that women may be more resilient than men when faced with a tiring task.