Currently, humans can easily live for 60 years and more. This increase in life expectancy produces myriad changes in our bodies that diminish the individual’s physical and mental capacities and affect as well the functional capacity of individuals to interact appropriately with their social and physical environments. The oxidative theory of aging predicts an accumulation of oxidative damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA with age; as a consequence, the aged brain gradually suffers loss in neuronal functions, increasing the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive impairment. To date, there are no effective treatments to prevent age-related cognitive decline, making it urgent to identify the neural mechanisms that are altered during aging. In this chapter, we discuss the mechanisms that underlie synaptic plasticity, emphasizing the relationship between redox balance and neuronal function, and we also address current evidence supporting oxidative stress as an important contributing factor in brain aging.
Part of the book: Nutritional Deficiency
The hippocampus is an integral portion of the limbic system and executes a critical role in spatial and recognition learning, memory encoding, and memory consolidation. Hippocampal aging showed neurobiological alterations, including increased oxidative stress, altered intracellular signaling pathways, synaptic impairment, and organelle deterioration such as mitochondrial dysfunction. These alterations lead to hippocampal cognitive decline during aging. Therefore, the search for new non-invasive therapies focused on preserving or attenuating age-related hippocampal memory impairment could have of great impact on aging, considering the increasing life expectancy in the world. Red light Transcranial LED therapy (RL-TCLT) is a promising but little explored strategy, which involves red light LED irradiation without surgical procedures, safe and at a low cost. Nevertheless, the precise mechanism involved and its real impact on age-related cognitive impairment is unclear, due to differences in protocol, wavelength applied, and time. Therefore, in this chapter, we will discuss the evidence about RL-TCLT and its effects on the hippocampal structure and function, and how this therapy could be used as a promising treatment for memory loss during aging and in age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Finally, we will mention our advances in Red 630-light-Transcranial LED therapy on the hippocampus in aging and AD.
Part of the book: Hippocampus