Mental health 01/09/2013 at 09:11

Age Related Memory Loss not Related to Alzheimer’s

Scientists from Columbia University Medical Center believe that they have discovered that a protein deficiency contributes to age-related memory loss. The research team also found that this condition is not the same as Alzheimer’s. The enlightening discovery was made following the examination of post-mortem human brains and laboratory mice.

“Medical News Today” reports that researchers began their investigation in hopes of proving that typical age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s are not connected. Earlier studies attempting to explain the difference in the two conditions suggested that Alzheimer’s originates in the part of the brain known as the entorhinal cortex or EC. While age-related memory loss occurs in the dentate gyrus, also referred to as the DG. Both areas serve as pathways to the hippocampus, a sea horse-shaped region that plays a major role in memory formation.

The study involved analysing the gene expressions in the disease-free brains of deceased individuals aged 33 to 88. The evaluation revealed that 17 genes differed with age and RbAp48 showed the most significant change in the brains of some of the elderly subjects. To further investigate the role of the protein, researchers manipulated the gene in live mice and observed their behaviour and assessed any physiological changes using MRI documentation.

By turning the gene on, off or enhancing the protein, scientists not only successfully duplicated memory loss behaviours in the mice, but also remarkably reversed the process. The study also revealed the particular pathway in the brain where the protein operates. Researchers also concluded that while Alzheimer’s disease causes a substantial loss of neurons, age-related memory loss occurs because of neuron malfunction.
Understanding the location in the brain where the problem takes place along with the specific protein deficiency responsible may encourage new therapies. (