Age-related cognitive decline and changes in the nervous system are closely linked, but up until recently, they were thought to result from the loss of neurons in areas such as the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain important in working memory. A series of papers have shown that the “loss of neurons” concept is simply not true. Now, Mount Sinai scientists have begun to look elsewhere, focusing instead on synaptic health in the prefrontal cortex. Their work, published online in PNAS, shows that synaptic health in the brain is closely linked to cognitive decline. Further, the scientists show that estrogen restores synaptic health and also improves working memory.
“We are increasingly convinced that maintenance of synaptic health as we age, rather than rescuing cognition later, is critically important in preventing age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease,” says the study’s senior author, John Morrison, Dean of Basic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/12/cognitive-decline-linked-brain-synapses