2024-01-24| R&D

Inside the Aging Brain: NTU Singapore’s Revelation on Memory Neuron Communication

by Sinead Huang
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A recent study by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore sheds light on the impact of aging on memory-coding neurons, offering crucial insights into the aging process of the human mind. The research explores changes in the communication among these neurons, providing a foundation for potential therapies to maintain mental well-being as individuals age.

Related article: Latest Study on Neuronal Gene Expression May Shed Light on the Memory Formation Process

Neuronal Communication Changes with Age

The study, published in Nature Communications, differs from previous research by measuring the real-time activity of individual nerve cells in live mice, specifically focusing on memory-coding neurons. NTU scientists found that communication among these neurons is disrupted with age, a phenomenon that can initiate as early as middle age. The research provides a breakthrough in understanding how memory decline occurs at the individual brain neuron level.

Using advanced optical techniques, the NTU team discovered that neurons in the prefrontal cortex, responsible for memory coding, exhibited robust abilities in young mice. However, this capacity diminished in middle-aged and older mice due to weakening connections among neurons. The findings suggest that strengthening these connections through interventions such as memory training activities could potentially delay working memory deterioration as individuals age.

Clinical Perspectives in Aging and Memory Decline

The study emphasizes the clinical relevance of understanding neural changes associated with aging. Associate Professor Nagaendran Kandiah highlights the importance of these findings in designing cognitive interventions to combat age-related memory decline. The next steps for the project involve investigating broader neural changes during middle age to enhance communication among different brain areas and inform future interventions for brain health maintenance.

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