Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3 » Neurochemistry - Neurochemistry Of Synaptic Transmission, Effects Of Age On The Neurochemistry Of Synapses, Functional Consequences Of Age-related Neurochemical Changes

Neurochemistry - Functional Consequences Of Age-related Neurochemical Changes

aging differences clinical brain synapses cognitive aging

It is difficult to link age-related changes in the neurochemistry of synapses to specific changes in cognitive function. Neurochemical studies of experimental animals are easier to perform and better controlled than those using postmortem human brain tissue, but they are not readily related to cognitive changes in humans. Despite such difficulties, however, there is accumulating evidence that age-related declines in transmission at cholinergic, serotonergic, and dopaminergic synapses contribute to changes in motor function, mood, and memory, respectively. Recent developments in functional brain imaging have provided significant advances in studies of the neurochemistry of synapses, changes in the aging brain, and their relationship to cognitive function. Radioactive ligands for specific neurotransmitter receptors, which can be imaged in living subjects using positron emission tomography (PET), permit investigators to visualize the activity of specific types of synapses in discrete regions of the brain. This approach permits direct comparisons of synaptic function in the brains of individuals of different ages and allows investigators to link neurochemical differences to differences in cognitive function.

DAVID R. RIDDLE

BIBLIOGRAPHY

DEKOSKY, S. T., and PALMER, A. M. "Neurochemistry of Aging." In Clinical Neurology of Aging. Edited by M. L. Albert and J. E. Knoefel. New York: Oxford, University Press. 1994. Pages 79–101.

MELTZER, C. C. "Neuropharmacology and Receptor Studies in the Elderly." Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology 12 (1999): 137–149.

SCHWARTZ, J. H. "Neurotransmitters." In Principles of Neural Science. Edited by E. R. Kandel, J. H. Schwartz, and T. M. Jessell. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000. Pages 280–297.

STRONG, R. "Neurochemical Changes in the Aging Human Brain: Implications for Behavioral Impairment and Neurodegenerative Disease." Geriatrics 53 (1998): S9–S12.

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