Animal Models of Geriatric Cognitive Dysfunction: Evidence for an Important Cholinergic Involvement
Cognitive impairments in the aged present an increasingly important health problem. More than 11% of the U.S. population is 65 years of age or older, and many of these people suffer some degree of intellectual dysfunction. In 1.5–3 million people, this cognitive decline is greatly exacerbated by the presence of senile dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (SDAT). SDAT insidiously destroys the intellectual capacity of its victims (Reisberg et al. 1982), ultimately necessitating complete and perpetual institutional care. Annual costs for treatment and care are in excess of 20 billion dollars in the United States. At the same time, the devastating emotional burden and personal loss felt by family members, friends, and the patients themselves cannot be properly represented in financial terms. Improvement in other health care areas has been and is expected to continue to expand rapidly the aged sector of the population. The present magnitude of the health care problem posed by the elderly and clear projections for its increased incidence in the future demand a concerted efford to determine the nature, etiology, and treatment of cognitive impairments in the aged.
KeywordsRetention Interval Nonhuman Primate Basal Forebrain Senile Dementia Neurobiol Aging
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