NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ815247
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0502
Age-Related Declines in General Cognitive Abilities of Balb/C Mice and General Activity Are Associated with Disparities in Working Memory, Body Weight, and General Activity
Matzel, Louis D.; Grossman, Henya; Light, Kenneth; Townsend, David; Kolata, Stefan
Learning & Memory, v15 n10 p733-746 Oct 2008
A defining characteristic of age-related cognitive decline is a deficit in general cognitive performance. Here we use a testing and analysis regimen that allows us to characterize the general learning abilities of young (3-5 mo old) and aged (19-21 mo old) male and female Balb/C mice. Animals' performance was assessed on a battery of seven diverse learning tasks. Aged animals exhibited deficits in five of the seven tasks and ranked significantly lower than their young counterparts in general learning abilities (aggregate performance across the battery of tasks). Aging added variability to common core performance (i.e., general learning ability), which translated into increased variability on the individual cognitive tasks. Relatedly, general learning abilities did not differ between the two ages among the best quartile of learners (i.e., cognitive abilities were spared in a subsample of the aged animals). Additionally, working memory capacity (resistance to interference) and duration (resistance to decay) accounted for significantly more of the variability in general learning abilities in aged relative to young animals. Tests of 15 noncognitive performance variables indicated that an increase in body weight (and an associated decrease in general activity) was characteristic of those aged animals which exhibited deficient general learning abilities. These results suggest the possibility that general cognitive deficits in aged animals reflect a failure of specific components of the working memory system, and may be related to variations in body weight and an associated decrease in activity. (Contains 6 figures and 4 tables.)
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. 500 Sunnyside Boulevard, Woodbury, NY 11797-2924. Tel: 800-843-4388; Tel: 516-367-8800; Fax: 516-422-4097; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A