Senior Moments Differ from Alzheimer's

IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 12 (UPI) — Forgetting where one put one’s keys need not be an early sign of Alzheimer’s Disease, U.S. researchers say.

With the help of volunteers ages 18-89, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, have identified a long-hidden part of the human brain called the perforant path that could help doctors differentiate between the forgetfulness that comes with aging — known as senior moments — and the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes the development and use of a new ultra-high-resolution technique to find the perforant path — a bundle of nerve fibers, lined up like straws, that connects the entorhinal cortex to the hippocampus.

The researchers measured the strength of the passageway, confirming that in normal brains it weakens gradually with age, reducing the capacity to quickly recall details but not wiping out memory.

“There was definitely an ‘aha’ moment when we knew we had finally found it,” study lead author Mike Yassa says in a statement.

The finding may aid the testing of new medicines, the researchers say.

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