PhotoOlga Kotelko holds more than 30 world records in her age category.Credit Patrik Giardino for The New York TimesPhys Ed
Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.
At the age of 93, Olga Kotelko one of the most successful and acclaimed nonagenarian track-and-field athletes in history traveled to the University of Illinois to let scientists study her brain.
Ms. Kotelko held a number of world records and had won hundreds of gold medals in masters events. But she was of particular interest to the scientific community because she hadnt begun serious athletic training until age 77. So scanning her brain could potentially show scientists what late-life exercise might do for brains.
Ms. Kotelko died last year at the age of 95, but the results of that summer brain scan were published last month in Neurocase.
And indeed, Ms. Kotelkos brain looked quite different from those of other volunteers aged 90-plus who participated in the study, the scans showed. The white matter of her brain the cells that connect neurons and help to transmit messages from one ...