Brain’s Reluctance To Function With Age

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New findings have revealed a new mechanism by which the brain of individuals might become reluctant to function as they grow older. This research was led by leading neuroscientists from the University of Bristol and it also got printed in the periodical of Neurobiology of Aging. It is still not absolutely understood as to why the cognitive functions of brain like the speech and memory decline when the individuals grow older. However the researchers suggest that cognitive decline can be recognized before the age of 50 years.  The researchers have identified a new cellular mechanism which underpins the changes to the actions of neurons that may underline the cognitive decline at the time of normal healthy aging.

The brain makes use of electrical signals while it encodes and communicates the information. Any modification in this electrical activity is probable to underpin the age dependent alterations to cognitive abilities. The researchers then analyzed the brain’s electrical activity and made recordings of the electrical signals in sole cells of hippocampus. By adopting this manner they classified the neuronal excitability. Action potentials were activated near the cell body of neurone’s and once generated, they travel rapidly all through the nerve cell’s massively branching structure.

The research group discovered that in aged brain, it is almost impossible to make hippocampus neurons produce action potentials. They also put forward that this concerned reluctance to generate action potential arises from the alterations of the membrane proteins which are called the sodium channels. They mediate the fast upstroke of the activity potential by permitting the flow of sodium ions into the neurons. As per Professor Randall, much of their task is just to understand the knowledge of the dysfunctional electrical signaling of the diseased brain. Recognizing the sodium channels as the probable culprit for this reluctance can also help change the age related alterations to neuronal excitability.



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