Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Finds Potential New Cause Of Mental Decline In Old Age

Date:
November 2, 2004
Source:
University Of Edinburgh
Summary:
Doctors have found important new evidence to explain why mental function becomes less efficient with ageing. In the first study of its type in the world, a team at the University of Edinburgh found that worse mental function is linked with abnormally enlarged channels around blood vessels in the brain.

Doctors have found important new evidence to explain why mental function becomes less efficient with ageing. In the first study of its type in the world, a team at the University of Edinburgh found that worse mental function is linked with abnormally enlarged channels around blood vessels in the brain. The report, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, will help doctors to better understand the causes of dementia.

Dementia and milder forms of loss of mental ability affects millions of older people every year, but the causes are unclear. Previous research using brain scanning has shown that brain shrinkage and changes in the brain's white matter 'wiring', are associated with mental function slowing down in old age. This research adds a new way in which damage to the brain may result in dementia and other mental loss in older people.

The abnormal channels are known as enlarged perivascular spaces. Rare in young, healthy adults, they are very commonly seen in the brain scans of older people, and in conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and high blood pressure. Researchers have long noted these abnormalities, but until now there has been no research on any links with mental function in old age. The enlarged perivascular spaces might be an indicator of overall brain shrinkage, or they might reflect specific damage to brain tissue around blood vessels.

Dr. Alasdair MacLullich, of the University's Geriatric Medicine Unit, measured mental ability in100 healthy elderly male volunteers from the Edinburgh area. Professor Joanna Wardlaw, from the Brain Imaging Research Centre for Scotland, measured the extent of the enlarged perivascular spaces in these men using a new and innovative method of analysis. The team, which also included researchers from psychology and endocrinology, found that men with more enlarged perivascular spaces had worse mental ability.

Dr. MacLullich commented: "These findings mean that we should certainly be looking more closely at enlarged perivascular spaces as a cause of dementia and other mental decline in old age. They raise the interesting possibilities that there may be substances in the blood, such as cholesterol or sugar levels, or even blood pressure itself, that may contribute to memory decline as people become older. This puts a spotlight on blood vessels, so we are now working to find out how these changes around the brain's blood vessel supply arise."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Edinburgh. "Study Finds Potential New Cause Of Mental Decline In Old Age." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041030220052.htm>.
University Of Edinburgh. (2004, November 2). Study Finds Potential New Cause Of Mental Decline In Old Age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041030220052.htm
University Of Edinburgh. "Study Finds Potential New Cause Of Mental Decline In Old Age." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041030220052.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

AP (Apr. 10, 2014) As states slash funding for mental health services, police officers are interacting more than ever with people suffering from schizophrenia and other serious disorders of the mind. The consequences can be deadly. (April 10) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Newsy (Apr. 9, 2014) A University of Pittsburgh study found pop music that mentions alcohol is linked to higher drinking rates among teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins