. Neuronal basis of age-related working memory decline. Nature. 2011 Aug 11;476(7359):210-3. PubMed.

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  1. This paper by Wang et al. is well written and makes a strong case for potentially reversible declines in neuronal function with age. As the authors note, despite their relatively close biological proximity to humans, rhesus monkeys do not develop Alzheimer’s disease. Monkeys do, however, lose a step cognitively as they age. Hence, old monkeys are an attractive model of aging that is uncontaminated by AD-type dementia. Though it is worrisome that the authors recorded declines in persistent neuronal firing that commence rather early in life (by 12 years; the maximum lifespan of rhesus monkeys approaches 40 years), the ability of agents such as guanfacine to reverse this process is encouraging. It will be exciting to see whether these agents are effective in senescent humans, and whether their efficacy can withstand the neuronal ravages of AD.

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