26 January 2008

Communication failures in the ageing brain may explain cognitive decline

The aging brain: failure to communicate
Howard Hughes Medical Institute: 6 December 2007
A team of Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers has shown that normal aging disrupts communication between different regions of the brain. The new research, which used advanced medical imaging techniques to look at the brain function of 93 healthy individuals from 18 to 93 years old, shows that this decline happens even in the absence of serious pathologies like Alzheimer's disease…. > full story

Alzheimer’s Australia Research Officer, Suzanne Dixon comments: The ambiguity over the categorization of 'mild cognitive impairment' (MCI), often a precursor to Alzheimer's disease (AD), and the low rate of MCI/AD testing among the subjects may have complicated the results by including MCI patients in the 'normal ageing' category.
More research into white matter channels must be done to demonstrate if these communication breakdowns could be one of the many causes/symptoms of early Alzheimer's disease, if they can be used as markers in future diagnostic procedures or risk studies, and whether they are reversible.

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