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.

Related Articles


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 December 19, 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 December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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