Extending lifespan has mixed effects on learning and memory

July, 2010

Although roundworm research suggesting different effects at different ages is concerned with genetic manipulation, we may speculate that restricting your food intake is a bad idea for young adults but good for the old, while reducing sugar may be better for the young than it is for the old.

Studies on the roundworm C. elegans have revealed that the molecules required for learning and memory are the same from C. elegans to mammals, suggesting that the basic mechanisms underlying learning and memory are ancient, and that this animal can serve as a testing ground for treatments for age-related memory loss. Intriguingly, a comparison of two known regulators of longevity — reducing calorie intake and reducing activity in the insulin-signaling pathway (achieved through genetic manipulation) — has found that these two treatments produce very different effects on memory. While dietary restriction impaired memory in early adulthood, it maintained memory with age. On the other hand, reduced insulin signaling improved early adult memory performance but failed to preserve it with age. These different effects appear to be linked to expression of CREB, a protein known to be important for long-term memory. Young roundworms with defective insulin receptors had higher levels of CREB protein, while those worms genetically altered to eat less had low levels, but the level did not diminish with age. These findings add to our understanding of why memory declines with age.

Reference: 

Related News

A study involving 65 older adults (59-80), who were very sedentary before the study (reporting less than two episodes of physical activity lasting 30 minutes or more in the previous six months), has found that those who joined a walking group improved their cognitive performance and the connecti

A study involving over 180,000 older veterans (average age 68.8 at study start), of whom 29% had PTSD, has revealed that those with PTSD had a significantly greater risk of developing dementia.

Following on from previous research with mice that demonstrated that a diet rich in

A study involving over 1100 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease at 50 French clinics has revealed that receiving a comprehensive care plan involving regular 6-monthly assessments (with standardised guidelines for the management of problems) produced no benefits compared to receivi

A small study suggests that the apathy shown by many Alzheimer's patients may not simply be due to memory or language problems, but to a decreased ability to experience emotions.

Confirming previous research, a study involving 270 Alzheimer’s patients has found that larger head size was associated with better performance on memory and thinking tests, even when there was an equivalent degree of brain damage.

Anticholinergics are widely used for a variety of common medical conditions including insomnia, allergies, or incontinence, and many are sold over the counter.

While brain training programs can certainly improve your ability to do the task you’re practicing, there has been little evidence that this transfers to other tasks.

A review of the many recent studies into the effects of music training on the nervous system strongly suggests that the neural connections made during musical training also prime the brain for other aspects of human communication, including learning.

A rat study demonstrates how specialized brain training can reverse many aspects of normal age-related cognitive decline in targeted areas. The month-long study involved daily hour-long sessions of intense auditory training targeted at the primary auditory cortex.

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news