SuperAger brains contain ‘super neurons’ – NW

·  SuperAger neurons are even larger than those in individuals 20 to 30 years younger
·  These neurons do not have tau tangles that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s
·  Larger neurons in the brain’s memory region are a biological signature of SuperAging trajectory

Neurons in an area of the brain responsible for memory (known as the entorhinal cortex) were significantly larger in SuperAgers compared to cognitively average peers, individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and even individuals 20 to 30 years younger than SuperAgers — who are aged 80 years and older, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

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These neurons did not harbor tau tangles, a signature hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

“The remarkable observation that SuperAgers showed larger neurons than their younger peers may imply that large cells were present from birth and are maintained structurally throughout their lives,” said lead author Tamar Gefen, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We conclude that larger neurons are a biological signature of the SuperAging trajectory.”  

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