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 July 31, 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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