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Clinicopathologic correlates in the oldest-old: Commentary on "No disease in the brain of a 115-year-old woman"

Hof, Patrick R.
Published in Neurobiology of Aging. 2008, vol. 29, no. 8, p. 1137-9
Abstract den Dunnen et al. [den Dunnen, W.F.A., Brouwer, W.H., Bijlard, E., Kamphuis, J., van Linschoten, K., Eggens-Meijer, E., Holstege, G., 2008. No disease in the brain of a 115-year-old woman. Neurobiol. Aging] had the opportunity to follow up the cognitive functioning of one of the world's oldest woman during the last 3 years of her life. They performed two neuropsychological evaluations at age 112 and 115 that revealed a striking preservation of immediate recall abilities and orientation. In contrast, working memory, retrieval from semantic memory and mental arithmetic performances declined after age 112. Overall, only a one-point decrease of MMSE score occurred (from 27 to 26) reflecting the remarkable preservation of cognitive abilities. The neuropathological assessment showed few neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) in the hippocampal formation compatible with Braak staging II, absence of amyloid deposits and other types of neurodegenerative lesions as well as preservation of neuron numbers in locus coeruleus. This finding was related to a striking paucity of Alzheimer disease (AD)-related lesions in the hippocampal formation. The present report parallels the early descriptions of rare "supernormal" centenarians supporting the dissociation between brain aging and AD processes. In conjunction with recent stereological analyses in cases aged from 90 to 102 years, it also points to the marked resistance of the hippocampal formation to the degenerative process in this age group and possible dissociation between the occurrence of slight cognitive deficits and development of AD-related pathologic changes in neocortical areas. This work is discussed in the context of current efforts to identify the biological and genetic parameters of human longevity.
Keywords Aged, 80 and overAtherosclerosis/pathologyBrain/pathologyBrain Diseases/pathologyDisease-Free SurvivalFrail ElderlyHumansNeurodegenerative Diseases/pathology
Stable URL http://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:1131
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PMID: 18534719
Research groups Groupe Bouras Constantin (neuropsychiatrie) (1)
Groupe Giannakopoulos Panteleimon (psychiatrie générale) (201)
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