Volume 8 Supplement 2
Age-related neuromorphological distortion affects stability and robustness in a simulated test of spatial working memory
© Coskren et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2007
Published: 6 July 2007
Normal aging in humans and nonhuman primates is associated with cognitive decline, particularly in tasks involving working memory function that relies on the prefrontal cortex . Because normal aging is not correlated with widespread neuron death or gross morphological degeneration, the biological substrate of these deficits remains unclear . We have constructed a simulated network of model neurons with sufficient detail to model age-related perturbations to morphology and network connectivity, in order to investigate the extent to which these morphological changes in single neurons could explain the functional degradation.
By defining a stability manifold, we demonstrate how stability and robustness can be quantified as a function of biologically relevant perturbations to single cell morphology and network parameters. This provides a novel technique for evaluating the functional significance of local morphological changes, caused by age, disease or injury, upon cognition at the organism scale.
Supported by NIH grants MH071818, DC05669, AG02219, AG05138.
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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.