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Faulty Wiring in the Aging Brain
ScienceNOW Daily News ^ | 5 December 2007 | Greg Miller

Posted on 12/06/2007 8:53:34 PM PST by neverdem

Even seniors fortunate enough to avoid the horrors of Alzheimer's disease typically experience some declines in memory and other cognitive abilities. Little is known about why this happens, but a new study suggests that cognitive declines in healthy older adults may result when brain regions that normally work together become out of sync, perhaps because the connections between them break down.

A team led by Harvard neuroscientists Jessica Andrews-Hanna and Randy Buckner used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor brain activity in 38 young adults, mostly 20-somethings, and 55 older adults, age 60 or above. The researchers focused on a "default" network of brain regions that are active when the brain is just idling, not working on any particular task (ScienceNOW, 18 January). The fMRI scans revealed coordinated activity in the default network in younger subjects: For example, two particular brain regions in the network tended to be active at the same time even though one is at the front of the brain and the other is near the back. In the older subjects, however, activity in these areas was poorly coordinated. In nine older adults, the researchers also performed a positron emission tomography (PET) scan that can detect amyloid protein in the brain--a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The PET scans were negative, suggesting that an out-of-sync default network is a part of normal aging, not a sign of disease, Buckner says.

Additional experiments using a method called diffusion tensor imaging revealed evidence of deteriorated white matter--the cables of axons connecting one brain region to another--in older adults whose default network activity was poorly coordinated. Although the role of the default network in cognition is poorly understood, coordinated activity made a difference in how people performed on tests of memory and other mental skills. Those with the least coordinated default network activity tended to get the lowest scores, the researchers report in the 6 December issue of Neuron.

"I think it's a great contribution to the field of cognitive aging," says neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley of the University of California, San Francisco. The findings, he notes, add to previous hints that the cognitive declines that happen with age result from changes in the way brain regions interact. Deteriorating white matter may turn out to be the root problem, breaking down communication links between brain regions and impairing their ability to work in a coordinated manner, says Gazzaley.

Related site



TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aging; alzheimersdisease; brain; neuroscience
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Disruption of Large-Scale Brain Systems in Advanced Aging
1 posted on 12/06/2007 8:53:36 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

I don’t understand a single word of this article.


2 posted on 12/06/2007 8:54:30 PM PST by Jeff Chandler ("Liberals want to save the world for the children they aren't having." -Mark Steyn)
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To: neverdem

bump


3 posted on 12/06/2007 8:55:42 PM PST by Abogado
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To: neverdem

All the other spark plugs start misfiring, why wouldn’t the one called the brain?

Guess we had better do a study


4 posted on 12/06/2007 8:58:15 PM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Jeff Chandler
Maybe two of the parts of your brain that would have needed to work together to understand this article weren't working together so well <grin>.
5 posted on 12/06/2007 8:58:28 PM PST by ThePythonicCow (The Greens and Reds steal in fear of freedom and capitalism; Fear arising from a lack of Faith.)
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To: neverdem

I just wonder why they used 20-somethings. In previous posts about brain development it’s been noted that the brain isn’t really completely fully developed until about 25. If the 20-somethings were below 25, I wonder if that really is a good model of an adult brain. Perhaps adults of around 30 might be a better benchmark to get a real picture of how a fully developed, adult brain works.


6 posted on 12/06/2007 8:59:14 PM PST by Secret Agent Man
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To: neverdem
Next they will find out why we geezers have the inexplicable urge to wear dark socks with shorts.


7 posted on 12/06/2007 9:00:47 PM PST by DeFault User
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To: DeFault User

Pretty snazzy.


8 posted on 12/06/2007 9:05:36 PM PST by SIDENET (Hubba Hubba...)
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To: neverdem

It’s great when you get so old you can’t do it anymore, but memory is so bad you thought you did.


9 posted on 12/06/2007 9:07:29 PM PST by umgud (the profound is only so to those that it is)
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To: neverdem
I'm no brain scientist (although I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express a couple of times), but I always wonder -- with all the technology we have now -- why a complete body scan on say a 50-year-old, and another on that same person at 75, wouldn't show something, some compound or nutrient, that has been added or subtracted in the intervening years, and might be what the 75-year-old with Alzheimers has or doesn't have compared with his profile 25 years earlier.

I mean, something has to be different.

10 posted on 12/06/2007 9:16:13 PM PST by JennysCool (Merry Christmas!)
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To: DeFault User
Hey--both socks are blue. What is there to complain about?

:-)
11 posted on 12/06/2007 9:18:57 PM PST by cgbg (Nada non nyet--nanny amnesty Huckabee.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

When you consider that the brain is most receptive to information prior to the age of six and sets up self-limiting blocks after that (a self-defense measure?) it’s amazing any of us live beyond 50. We human beings are unique for surviving on the added intelligence our brains provide while our bodies lag behind many of the simpler animal’s ability to withstand the forces of nature.

One recent article said we lack the memory ability of chimpanzees. I say we obviously have enough memory and innate talent for innovation to be typing these responses on this forum while the chimps are picking parasites off their buddies.

We are probably the only creatures aware of our own mortality and the implications of our impact on the overall time line...providing that dolphins are total hedonists and whales are captives of their subsonic tradition transference loop.


12 posted on 12/06/2007 9:19:38 PM PST by NewRomeTacitus (2008 - Won't Get Fooled Again...No No)
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To: Secret Agent Man

“A team led by Harvard neuroscientists Jessica Andrews-Hanna and Randy Buckner used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor brain activity in 38 young adults, mostly 20-somethings, and 55 older adults, age 60 or above.”

They used 55 older adults, age 60 or above. I think that qualifies as a fully developed brain.


13 posted on 12/06/2007 9:19:53 PM PST by Balata
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To: neverdem

Gee, you get older and things stop working the way they did when you were younger.

Where’s my grant $$?


14 posted on 12/06/2007 9:23:11 PM PST by JoeSixPack1
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To: All
The Role of Biomarkers in Clinical Trials for Alzheimer Disease

More recently, PET imaging studies using radioligands that bind directly to β-amyloid plaques have been performed.28,29 One of these ligands, Pittsburgh Compound-B (PIB), is a thioflavin derivative and appears to be relatively selective for β-amyloid plaques at the concentrations used for imaging studies. As shown in Figure 2, the binding of PIB to brain sections is highly correlated with total Aβ levels. Test/retest variability in clinical studies is less than 10% for most brain regions.30

15 posted on 12/06/2007 9:23:26 PM PST by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
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To: umgud
I think part of it is that we get out of habits. No need to get the kids off to school, dinner at 6, bed at 11. Then we try to do everything we've put off...at one time. Kind of like flooding your engine.

When I'm working, everything seems to be fine. It's orderly. But if I just hang around...It's another world....kinda like wandering. I'm only 64.

I have friends dealing with their parents. It tears their heart out.

16 posted on 12/06/2007 9:24:19 PM PST by Sacajaweau ("The Cracker" will be renamed "The Crapper")
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To: neverdem

In laymens terms, they can’t work within the compound to destroy the plaque, thus the buildup of plaque disrupting the normal flow of impulses is continuous.


17 posted on 12/06/2007 9:26:39 PM PST by JoeSixPack1
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To: NewRomeTacitus

Well, it’s not that the info isn’t IN the brain, it’s more of an active recall issue. It’s recorded, we just may not always know where to stop the tape.


18 posted on 12/06/2007 9:29:07 PM PST by Secret Agent Man
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To: Balata

Please really read my post before replying.

It’s not the older people that I was concerned about. I was saying if they want to compare a young adult brain to an older adult brain, they should make sure that ALL the younger people measured should be over 25, because that’s the age when the brain is fully developed and the brain’s structure is done going thru major changes.


19 posted on 12/06/2007 9:32:16 PM PST by Secret Agent Man
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To: NewRomeTacitus

Short term memory and long term memory are two different animals. ;)


20 posted on 12/06/2007 9:34:38 PM PST by Balata
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To: Secret Agent Man
Is the mind powerful enough to erase and rewrite or edit? My girlfriend's father sometimes calls her by his wife's name. She passed away many years ago. He's been in an Alzheimer's hospital for about a year now.

Is it an imaging problem? Is it a wish function like in an awakened state of dreaming?

21 posted on 12/06/2007 9:34:40 PM PST by Sacajaweau ("The Cracker" will be renamed "The Crapper")
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To: Jeff Chandler

Basically, it says that the insulation (white matter) of the brain’s wiring breaks down with age and that that is a normal process which results in less than optimal cognitive (thinking) function.


22 posted on 12/06/2007 9:36:07 PM PST by Rudder
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To: Secret Agent Man

Our brain must be similar to a computer...filing everything and then searching. The more records you put into your computer...the longer the search process....if you’ve been away from your computer.


23 posted on 12/06/2007 9:37:14 PM PST by Sacajaweau ("The Cracker" will be renamed "The Crapper")
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To: Jeff Chandler
I don’t understand a single word of this article.

That's because you have alka-seltzer's disease or whatever it is.

24 posted on 12/06/2007 9:39:05 PM PST by Octar
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To: DeFault User

This is also a popular look with academics.


25 posted on 12/06/2007 9:39:39 PM PST by radiohead (Dissolution of the IRS as we know it - Fred Thompson. Stop...You had me at "dissolution.")
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To: neverdem

I resent that just because I am 60 I can not remember things and am slowing down. I mean yesterday, I think it was yesterday but it could have been last week or I might be planning it for tomorrow and just think I remember, ok what was the post about.


26 posted on 12/06/2007 9:40:19 PM PST by svcw (There is no plan B.)
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To: neverdem
Deteriorating white matter may turn out to be the root problem, breaking down communication links between brain regions and impairing their ability to work in a coordinated manner

I see this as one more step towards euthanasia of the elderly. The tests were done on twenty-somethings and on people 60 and above. I want to know the actual ages. Twenty-somethings is a 10-year range. But 60 and above could be a 40-year range!!!!!!! The 60's, the 70's, the 80's, and the 90's. What a shady test! Do you suppose they have an agenda???

27 posted on 12/06/2007 9:42:56 PM PST by my_pointy_head_is_sharp (Deport 'em all.)
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To: neverdem
Be interesting to see if statins postpone this degenerative process, or at least some aspects of it, as has been suggested by some correlational studies.
28 posted on 12/06/2007 9:43:45 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: Octar
That's because you have alka-seltzer's disease or whatever it is.

It's Mad Cow!

29 posted on 12/06/2007 9:44:49 PM PST by DeFault User
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To: my_pointy_head_is_sharp

I empathize with your concern but don’t think it is necessary here.


30 posted on 12/06/2007 9:45:39 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: DeFault User; Bender2
I gotta get me some of them 'crocs'



*<[;o)))~
31 posted on 12/06/2007 9:45:49 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Secret Agent Man

That’s fascinating. If we’re not gifted with genetic memory like most animals are we must be getting ahead through the creative centers that they don’t possess.

But I may have just lost what you were trying to illuminate - we tend to overthink when we shouldn’t and often miss what should be obvious. Darn this mortal coil and it’s insistence on linear thought!

Merry Christmas, Secret Agent Man. My brain tells me to go to bed.


32 posted on 12/06/2007 9:48:02 PM PST by NewRomeTacitus (2008 - Won't Get Fooled Again...No No)
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To: neverdem

I’m 66 plus. Can I get some money to study my brain please.


33 posted on 12/06/2007 9:48:22 PM PST by gpapa
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To: Liberty Valance

Well, at least he’s not wearing dress shoes like some snowbirds I’ve seen.


34 posted on 12/06/2007 9:49:20 PM PST by DeFault User
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To: umgud
It’s great when you get so old you can’t do it anymore, but memory is so bad you thought you did.


35 posted on 12/06/2007 9:59:04 PM PST by maine-iac7 (",,,but you can't fool all of the people all the time" LINCOLN)
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To: NewRomeTacitus
of their subsonic tradition transference loop.

Say what?

It's far to late in the evening - ?early in the morning - to spring that on us...

36 posted on 12/06/2007 10:01:40 PM PST by maine-iac7 (",,,but you can't fool all of the people all the time" LINCOLN)
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To: JoeSixPack1
Gee, you get older and things stop working the way they did when you were younger. Where’s my grant $$?

That's a great and totally accurate summation.

Grant money, Smant money. You should get the Pulitzer...

37 posted on 12/06/2007 10:03:42 PM PST by maine-iac7 (",,,but you can't fool all of the people all the time" LINCOLN)
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To: Secret Agent Man

“It’s not the older people that I was concerned about. I was saying if they want to compare a young adult brain to an older adult brain, they should make sure that ALL the younger people measured should be over 25, because that’s the age when the brain is fully developed and the brain’s structure is done going thru major changes.”

Well, SAM the article clearly states the young adult brain 20-30 functioned the same. IOW’s in the twenty something group the two particular brain regions tended to be active at the same time.


38 posted on 12/06/2007 10:03:52 PM PST by Balata
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To: DeFault User

http://www.prairiefarmscactusclub.com/view/?pageID=274960

I’m impressed with the snowbirds we get in South Texas. ;o)


39 posted on 12/06/2007 10:06:54 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Rudder
Basically, it says that the insulation (white matter) of the brain’s wiring breaks down with age and that that is a normal process which results in less than optimal cognitive (thinking) function.

Maybe we've learned not to sweat the small stuff - so aren't cluttering up the brain with stuff not needed at the time - don't need as many connections firing all at once...we learn how to sort out and how to pace...we've learned the sky probably won't fall today, so enjoy the sun

40 posted on 12/06/2007 10:09:33 PM PST by maine-iac7 (",,,but you can't fool all of the people all the time" LINCOLN)
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To: maine-iac7
Maybe we've learned not to sweat the small stuff...

My credo for the past 15 years.

41 posted on 12/06/2007 10:15:36 PM PST by Rudder
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To: Sacajaweau
Our brain must be similar to a computer...filing everything and then searching. The more records you put into your computer...the longer the search process....if you’ve been away from your computer.

Or the more you clutter up the screen with icons or have 20 windows open at once, things move slower.

Our brains are very like a computer - and we do file things away in 'favorites' and 'shortcuts' for fast retrieval = but it's not the entirety of the subject information we store - only the link that will than pull it back out of Zero Point Field faster than doing the search over...

Every thing that ever was or will be is flitting around in the very air we breathe - call it Super Strings or Zero Point Field or Akashic Records or...

It's there for us to pull in when we learn the url...

42 posted on 12/06/2007 10:19:11 PM PST by maine-iac7 (",,,but you can't fool all of the people all the time" LINCOLN)
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To: Octar
That's because you have alka-seltzer's disease or whatever it is.


43 posted on 12/06/2007 10:20:56 PM PST by maine-iac7 (",,,but you can't fool all of the people all the time" LINCOLN)
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To: neverdem
Little is known about why this happens....

Because a younger brain is younger than an older one?

44 posted on 12/06/2007 10:27:22 PM PST by onedoug
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To: Rudder

I tried to understand your explanation, but now my brain hurts.


45 posted on 12/06/2007 10:31:18 PM PST by Jeff Chandler ("Liberals want to save the world for the children they aren't having." -Mark Steyn)
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To: Octar

“Old Timer’s Disease”?


46 posted on 12/06/2007 10:32:14 PM PST by Jeff Chandler ("Liberals want to save the world for the children they aren't having." -Mark Steyn)
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To: neverdem
More recently, PET imaging studies using radioligands that bind directly to β-amyloid plaques have been performed.28,29 One of these ligands, Pittsburgh Compound-B (PIB), is a thioflavin derivative and appears to be relatively selective for β-amyloid plaques at the concentrations used for imaging studies. As shown in Figure 2, the binding of PIB to brain sections is highly correlated with total Aβ levels. Test/retest variability in clinical studies is less than 10% for most brain regions.30

I have been saying that for years. Nobody listens.

47 posted on 12/06/2007 10:33:48 PM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done, needs to be done by the government.)
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To: Balata

You are missing my point.

Because the article does not give the explicit age range of the younger 38 people, just ‘20 somethings’, for all we know they could all be in the lower 20s, and thus, ALL still having not fully developed, adult brains. And you would expect ALL of these not yet fully developed adult brains to function the same as the results indicate.

You assume that the sampling of the 38 young adults spans the ages of 20-29. But it is quite possible that that is not the case, and that some or all of the people still have developing brains.


48 posted on 12/06/2007 10:36:55 PM PST by Secret Agent Man
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To: Jeff Chandler

It’s quite simple, really. Recall what the aging wires in TWA 800 triggered. Well, the aging wires in your brain cause the same thing.


49 posted on 12/06/2007 10:37:32 PM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

Someone’s going to hit me in the butt with a missile?


50 posted on 12/06/2007 10:39:49 PM PST by Jeff Chandler ("Liberals want to save the world for the children they aren't having." -Mark Steyn)
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