Research press release


Nature Neuroscience

Young at heart, young in mind



William Jagustたちは、機能的磁気共鳴画像化法を用い、健康で若い成人と高齢者、および脳にAβ沈着が報告されている高齢者について、情景画像を記憶しようとする際の脳活動を調べた。両群の高齢者ともこの課題を同程度にうまくこなしたが、若い成人とAβ沈着を持つ高齢者では、脳の視覚野と記憶野の活動が、情景の詳細に関する記憶の増強と直接関連していた。これに対して、Aβ蓄積のない高齢者では、視覚や記憶に概して関わらない脳領域での低い活動が、情景の詳細をどの程度うまく記憶するかを強く予測するものであった。


Increased brain activity in older adults exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease helps them compensate for negative changes associated with the disease, reports a study published this week in Nature Neuroscience.

Alzheimer’s disease is associated with the accumulation of a protein known as beta amyloid (Aβ) in the brain, resulting in damage to brain cells.

William Jagust and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging to track brain activity of healthy young adults and older adults, as well as older adults with documented brain Aβ deposits, as they tried to memorize pictures of scenes. Both groups of older people did equally well in this task. However, in young adults, and in older adults with Aβ accumulation, activity in the visual and memory areas of the brain correlated directly with an increase in memory of the details of the scene. In contrast, for older adults with no Aβ accumulation, lower activity in areas not generally associated with vision and memory, was a greater predictor of how well they remembered the details of the scenes.

These results suggest that greater activity in individuals with Aβ brain accumulation might be the result of the brain adapting to the damage caused by Aβ in an effort to maintain normal function.

doi: 10.1038/nn.3806

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