Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Age-related cognitive decline linked to energy available to synapses in prefrontal cortex

Date:
December 2, 2013
Source:
Mount Sinai Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers show that synaptic health in the brain is closely linked to cognitive decline. Further, they discover that estrogen restores synaptic health and also improves working memory.

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 the December 2 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 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.

Related Articles


"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," said the study's senior author, John Morrison, PhD, and Dean of Basic Sciences and Professor of the Fishberg Department of Neuroscience and the Friedman Brain Institute, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

In the study, poor working memory in young and aged rhesus monkeys was associated with a higher incidence of malformed donut-shaped mitochondria in presynaptic terminals. Notably, these terminals containing donut-shaped mitochondria formed smaller and weaker synaptic contacts, compared to those with healthy or straight mitochondria. Both the working memory and the malformation of mitochondria were reversed by estrogen treatment.

"We were excited to see that the occurrence of these donut-shaped mitochondria could be reversed with estrogen, which has known antioxidant effects," said Yuko Hara, PhD, the lead researcher, and Assistant Professor in the Fishberg Department of Neurosciences, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The researchers studied 29 young and aged rhesus monkeys that were trained to perform a test of working memory referred to as the Delayed Response Test. Next, they examined prefrontal cortex mitochondria, specifically those that supply energy to the synapses, and their role in working memory. Working memory requires the energy-demanding activation of nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex through the complex arrangement of the synapses that interconnect nerve cells.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mount Sinai Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Hara, F. Yuk, R. Puri, W. G. M. Janssen, P. R. Rapp, J. H. Morrison. Presynaptic mitochondrial morphology in monkey prefrontal cortex correlates with working memory and is improved with estrogen treatment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1311310110

Cite This Page:

Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Age-related cognitive decline linked to energy available to synapses in prefrontal cortex." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202152031.htm>.
Mount Sinai Medical Center. (2013, December 2). Age-related cognitive decline linked to energy available to synapses in prefrontal cortex. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202152031.htm
Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Age-related cognitive decline linked to energy available to synapses in prefrontal cortex." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202152031.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. 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:

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