The Journal of Rural Health: Official Journal of the American Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Care Association
CONTEXT: The 2000 US Census identified 50,454 Americans over the age of 100. Increased longevity is only of benefit if accompanied by maintenance of independence and quality of life. Little is known about the prevalence of dementia and other disabling conditions among rural centenarians although this information is important to clinicians caring for them. PURPOSE: To determine the prevalence of disabling conditions, including cognitive impairment, among the very elderly in a rural setting to guide clinicians in their care.
Aging degrades motivation, cognition, sensory modalities and physical capacities, essentially dimming zestful living. Bradykinesis (declining physical movement) is a highly reliable biomarker of aging and mortality risk. Mice fed a complex dietary supplement (DSP) designed to ameliorate five mechanisms associated with aging showed no loss of total daily locomotion compared with >50% decrement in old untreated mice.
Most of the signalling pathways involved in aging regulation have been recently found well conserved at various levels throughout the evolution. Taking this into account, a diversity of model organisms, including worms, rodents, and lemurs as well, allows to address different questions: how to understand the interactions between genetic and environmental factors while challenging theories of aging, to preserve hearing integrity, to fight against senescence of neural stem cells, or to explore brain fitness from gene expression to cognitive and social behavior?
General intelligence is a robust predictor of important life outcomes, including educational and occupational attainment, successfully managing everyday life situations, good health and longevity. Some neuronal correlates of intelligence have been discovered, mainly indicating that larger cortices in widespread parieto-frontal brain networks and efficient neuronal information processing support higher intelligence. However, there is a lack of established associations between general intelligence and any basic structural brain parameters that have a clear functional meaning.
Mutations in the fused in sarcoma/translated in liposarcoma gene (FUS/TLS, FUS) have been identified in sporadic and familial forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). FUS is an RNA-binding protein that is normally localized in the nucleus, but is mislocalized to the cytoplasm in ALS, and comprises cytoplasmic inclusions in ALS-affected areas. However, it is still unknown whether the neurodegeneration that occurs in ALS is caused by the loss of FUS nuclear function, or by the gain of toxic function due to cytoplasmic FUS aggregation.
Proceedings of the Japan Academy. Series B, Physical and Biological Sciences
The author focused on the functional decline of synapses in the brain with aging to understand the underlying mechanisms and to ameliorate the deficits. The first attempt was to unravel the neuronal functions of gangliosides so that gangliosides could be used for enhancing synaptic activity. The second attempt was to elicit the neuronal plasticity in aged animals through enriched environmental stimulation and nutritional intervention. Environmental stimuli were revealed neurochemically and morphologically to develop synapses leading to enhanced cognitive function.
It is commonly known that mental activity helps to maintain a healthy brain. Recent research has unraveled the underlying molecular mechanisms that explain why an active brain lives longer. These mechanisms involve the activation of a comprehensive transcriptional program that is triggered by enhanced synaptic activity and renders neurons resistant to harmful conditions. Functionally, this state of acquired neuroprotection may be achieved mainly via one mechanism, which is the stabilization of mitochondria.
Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter, which is phylogenetically conserved in a wide range of species from nematodes to humans. In mammals, age-related changes in serotonin systems are known risk factors of age-related diseases, such as diabetes, faecal incontinence and cardiovascular diseases. A decline in serotonin function with aging would be consistent with observations of age-related changes in behaviours, such as sleep, sexual behaviour and mood all of which are linked to serotonergic function. Despite this little is known about serotonin in relation to aging.
Calorie restriction extends longevity and delays ageing in model organisms and mammals, opposing the onset and progression of an array of age-related diseases. These beneficial effects also extend to the maintenance of brain cognitive functions at later age and to the prevention, at least in rodents, of brain senescence and associated neurodegenerative disorders.
European Neuropsychopharmacology: The Journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Alzheimer's disease (AD) appears to be a uniquely human condition, which is possibly attributable to our expanded longevity and peculiar capacity for episodic memory. Due to a lack of naturally-occurring animal model for investigating AD pathogenesis, our knowledge about the disease must be derived from correlational observation of humans, or from animal models produced by genetic manipulation of known risk factors in humans.