Patrick Cox's Tech Digest - View by Tag "cognitive decline"

Brain May “Compensate” for Alzheimer’s Damage

September 15, 2014

Scientists from the University of California report new research in Nature Neuroscience which suggests that the brain may have a natural defense mechanism against the buildup of amyloid plaque, thought to be a potential hallmark of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, those with amyloid deposits showed increased brain activity in a memory test, perhaps signaling that their brains had identified and were compensating for decreased brain capacity. In future studies, scientists will seek to determine the mechanism in the brain which allows some to more actively fight back against the beginning stages of cognitive decline.

Cognitive Decline Linked to Immune Crosstalk at Blood-Brain Interface

October 1, 2014

Weizmann Institute scientists, writing in Science, reveal new research into cognitive decline related to the blood-brain barrier. The team suggests that at an interface known as the choroid plexus, where the brain transmits circulation signals, separate signals could influence gene expression. These signals could denote the expression of interferon beta. Interferon beta, used for fighting viral infection, also appears capable of harming the aging brain. Hopefully, the researchers suggest, this new work on blood-brain interface will lead to ways to rejuvenate aging brains and reverse cognitive decline.

Complex Jobs ‘May Protect Memory’

November 20, 2014

The BBC reports that according to a study of 1,000 70-year-olds in Scotland, conducted by Heriot-Watt University and appearing in the journal Neurology, more complex or “mentally taxing” jobs in younger age could potentially protect against memory loss and cognitive decline as a person ages. Through memory tests and questionnaires, the researchers determined the more varied and complex a person’s work, involving tasks like negotiations and data synthesis, the more protected their brains may be. One theory is that consistent, long-term mental stimulation helps to build a kind of functioning “reserve” that protects against declining memory.

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