Research on senescent nervous systems has tended to emphasize processes of deterioration, which may be among the most obvious and important kinds of alterations to occur over the lifespan. A number of recent findings, however, suggest that preservation of function, in spite of deteriorative change, occurs at many levels of the nervous system. One example of a seemingly compensatory change in senescent rat brain function is an increased electrical excitability of hippocampal granule cells in the face of a considerable reduction in the afferent fiber population. This chapter examines one possible mechanism of this change.
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