Investigation into the brains of aged rhesus monkeys show damage in the white matter (the myelin sheath covering the axons), while the gray matter (the cell nuclei and dendrites in areas such as the frontal cortex and hippocampus)saa remain intact, according to research presented by Douglas Rosene, associate professor in the anatomy and neurobiology at Boston University at the Successful Aging Conference on June 1-4 in Madison, Wis. The greater the degree of damage Rosene found, the poorer the animals' performance on memory tasks. The neurons in the aged monkeys also were far slower in carrying impulses than those in younger animals. The findings, which he describes as preliminary, are based on a total of 80 rhesus monkeys equally divided between males and females. Rhesus monkeys are good models to study "normal" aging of the human brain because they don't develop Alzheimer's disease. "If we could find out what's...

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