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Life course of the brain during normal aging and Alzheimer's disease
Published on May 31, 2016 35 min
Other Talks in the Series: Aging
I'm Caleb Finch. I'm a neurobiologist, PhD at the University of Southern California. My talk will be on the "Life Course of the Brain during Normal Aging and Alzheimer's Disease". I hope to bring to your attention changes that begin relatively early and are benign as they're understood and may progress in some individuals to the devastating endpoints of Alzheimer's disease.
The next slide shows a truly remarkable woman, unique in her lifespan of 122 years and unique also in reaching that advanced age with few, if any signs of mental deterioration. This is Jeanne Calment and there's no one who has approached her lifespan since. The sad fact is that about 50 percent of centenarians are mentally impaired.
The next slide shows the devastating reality that after the age of 60 in all human populations, the risk of Alzheimer's increases exponentially. The risk doubles every five years after the age of 60. That curve has a horrible prediction that if you live long enough, you'll get Alzheimer's. This is obviously not the case for some individuals seem to be protected. We want to understand that.
The three larger processes that are ongoing with aging. The best understood is infarcts or blood clots in the brain that happen at some degree of randomness in different parts of the brain and are associated with hypertension. They are also on a much smaller scale in some people and those are called microinfarcts, and of course the familiar extreme is stroke. This is a process that is added onto two other processes that are concurrent in almost everyone. The largest red circle is primary neurodegeneration, which arises during Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's. Then intersecting as a risk factor is damage to the white matter, the myelin of our brain, which has many different causes.