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City Scientists Discover New Approach that May Help in Earlier Detection of Alzheimer's

Nov 03, 2014     Email"> PrintText Size

A study by Shanghai scientists on working memory and the prefrontal cortex may be used in future research to help in detecting brain diseases like Alzheimer’s earlier.
Working memory is essential for cognition and believed to be closely connected with the prefrontal cortex. But scientists said they still have much to learn about the prefrontal cortex.

The study’s findings were published in the latest version of Science.

Working memory is important for cognition by allowing active retention of relevant information over a short duration known as the delay period.

For example, when one is attempting to multiply 43 by 27 without a calculator, the products of successive pairs of numbers need to be remembered temporarily. During the short delay period, the brain has to hold the necessary information in working memory to guide cognitive behavior.

Remembering a new telephone number and then dialing it is also a reflection of working memory.

"It is difficult to find a cognitive task without involvement of working memory,” said Li Chengyu, the project’s leading scientist from the Institute of Neuroscience under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “Working memory is included into intelligence measurements, while the defect of working memory is related to brain diseases or the aging process." (Shanghai Daily)

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(Editor: CHEN Na)

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