12.28.2007

Imaging Reveals White Matter Benefits
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A recent study has demonstrated that how and where memories are formed changes as we age. It appears that developing the brain's white matter, which powers neurotransmitter activity, leads to higher cognitive skills and the all important concept of cognitive reserve accumulation. According to this theory, borne out in other recent studies, the act of education and knowledge building seems to protect the brain from decline. Cross-training such as learning new skills and responding to different stimuli, in conjunction with regular exercise, appears to reinforce and strengthen the cognitive advances and may ward off decline, or delay it considerably in those with a genetic predisposition towards Alzheimer's. There is a forthcoming Stanford study that examines this very question.

How do the children and grandchildren of those who have Alzheimer's and may be genetically disposed to the disease respond? With the drive to open-sourcing the human genome and the explosion of individual genetic testing this issue will be answered deus ex machina whether or not the healthcare industry determines to address it openly or not. Possibly, we will look back to 2007 as a seminal year in world history - 40 or 50 years from now and certainly by the end of the century.

This question is certainly amongst the Top Ten developments for the year, which will be revealed on the 31st for Cognitive Labs' readers.



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