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From what I read on the NatGeo app, it stated that the speed of the electrical impulses that are sent by a neurone will be approximately 332 kilometers per hour.

Will the speed of this electrical impulse decreases over the years as we age?

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I'm too busy right now to write a properly referenced answer... but you may want to have a look at this paper A theory of the effects of fibre size in medullated nerve - Rushton, J. Physiol. 1951, which gives very good explications (on a side note, look at the amazing aknowledgments at the end of the paper... precious!). Also, have a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_potential#Propagation and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conduction_velocity –  nico Oct 27 '12 at 7:17
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Myelination of neurons decreases with age, and that should reduce the speed of conduction. –  Armatus Nov 27 '12 at 13:54

2 Answers 2

As @Armatus notes, it is now generally understood that age-related cognitive decline is related to loss of myelination and axon damage (see, for example, Kohama et al, 2012). Myelin degeneration is also likely the cause of some age-related peripheral neuropathies. Loss of myelination (due to inflammation) is also the mechanism behind multiple sclerosis.

Myelin allows for fast and reliable transmission of action potentials by a mechanism known as saltatory conduction. This is necessary to compensate for axons which have small diameters (unlike the squid giant axon) and travel long distances. Degraded myelin will reduce conduction velocity and can result in propogation failures. The links @nico provided in his comment above are useful references.


Kohama, S.G., Rosene, D.L., Sherman, L.S., 2012. Age-related changes in human and non-human primate white matter: from myelination disturbances to cognitive decline. Age (Dordr) 34, 1093–1110.

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Look this link http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2002/DavidParizh.shtml

It is said there, that nerve impulse has a speed approx 100 m/s

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This doesn't really answer the question, and also isn't the most accurate interpretation of the source you have used. –  Rory M Nov 27 '12 at 12:19
    
I disagree with you. The question does not require most accurate interpretation which is unreachable in fact. –  Suzan Cioc Nov 28 '12 at 11:56

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