Researchers at Harvard Medical School analyzed brain tissue after death and compared it to long-lived tissue (people aged at least 100 years old) with those who died aged 60-70, Fox8 reported.
The study found that those who died at a younger age had a lower level of protein called REST (RE-1 Silencing Transcription), which soothes brain activity.
According to the study, excessive activity in the brain is associated with a reduction in life expectancy, while the suppression of such overactivity prolongs life.
The study is based on the results of a study of the human brain, mice and worms.
The findings "could have such far-ranging consequences for physiology and life span," Bruce Yanker, genetics and neurology professor at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.