Navigation Links
Aging Brain's Decline May Hinge on a Gene

TUESDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified a gene variation that seems to have a major effect on the rate at which men experience an age-related decline in intellectual function.

The study included 144 experienced U.S. male pilots over the age of 40 who took a Federal Aviation Administration-approved flight simulator test three times over two years. The participants included recreational pilots, certified flight instructors and airline pilots.

Using blood and saliva samples from the pilots, the researchers also conducted genetic analyses, looking for the gene that produces a protein called brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). The BDNF gene is considered critical to the development and maintenance of the central nervous system. Levels decline gradually with age, but the findings of this study suggest that a variant of the gene hastens that process.

To test their theory, the researchers divided the pilots into two groups -- those with at least one copy of a BDNF gene that contained the methionine, or "met," variant and those without the variant.

Previous research has linked the "met" variant with increased risk of depression, stroke, anorexia nervosa, anxiety-related disorders, schizophrenia and suicidal behavior.

The flight simulator test scores of pilots in both groups fell over the three-year study period, but the rate of decline in the "met" group was much steeper, said the researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.

"We saw a doubling of the rate of decline in performance on the exam among met carriers during the first two years of follow-up," study senior author Dr. Ahmad Salehi, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford, said in a university news release.

Using MRI scans, the researchers also found that pilots with the "met" variant showed significant age-related decline in the hippocampus, a brain area that's crucial to memory and spatial reasoning.

"This gene-associated difference may apply not only to pilots but also to the general public, for example in the ability to operate complex machinery," Salehi said.

The study was published online Oct. 18 in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

Staying active can help maintain healthy BDNF levels, the researchers said. "The one clearly established way to ensure increased BDNF levels in your brain is physical activity," Salehi said.

More information

The Society for Neuroscience offers an overview of aging and the brain.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Stanford University, news release, Oct. 25, 2011

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Morning UV exposure may be less damaging to the skin
2. Congress alert: EUROECHO and Other Imaging Modalities: New patient emphasis
3. Trio of studies support use of PET/CT scans as prostate cancer staging tool
4. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital adopts new imaging agent to improve detection of bladder cancer
5. Relationships more important than genetic ties when deciding who cares for aging family, study finds
6. Staying Sharp in New Haven: Yale brain experts discuss successful aging at free forum
7. Project leads next decade of aging research across Europe
8. Muscling toward a longer life: Genetic aging pathway identified in flies
9. Protein family key to aging, cancer
10. New provincial atlas; information on lab testing key to managing diabetes among Albertans
11. Innovation at Regenstrief: Leveraging novel ideas to improve health care
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Aging Brain's Decline May Hinge on a Gene
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Intellitec Solutions announced today that they have ... as Microsoft’s official group for end users of Dynamics SL ERP software, the ... experts and representatives. Intellitec Solutions’ membership status demonstrates their ongoing commitment to the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... CBD College is proud to announce that on November 20th, ... its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. CBD College is honored to join this very short ... universities in the state of California make the cut. CBD College is officially the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and ... of Asterisk 11 LTS (Long Term Support) into its Q-Suite 5.10 product line. ... 5.10 up-to-date with a version of Asterisk that will receive not only security ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Ashburn, VA (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 ... ... Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. As a franchise owner, Somu now offers ... range of cruise, destination wedding packages, private cruise sales, as well as, cabin ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., the first company to ... Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by the International Foundation of ... 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, Oahu, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 ... addition of the "Global Brain Monitoring ... offering. --> ) has ... Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" report ... and Markets ( ) has announced ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  Linden Care, LLC, a retail specialty ... for patients suffering from chronic pain, said today that ... Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining Express Scripts from unilaterally terminating ... --> --> The company ... legal options. --> --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  Henry Schein, Inc., the world,s largest ... dental, medical and animal health practitioners, will unveil at ... Henry Schein ConnectDental® Pavilion , which brings together for ... solutions designed to help any practice or laboratory enter ... for a schedule of experts appearing at the Pavilion. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: