Chapter

The Aging Brain

Elizabeth C. Leritz, Regina E. McGlinchey, David H. Salat and William P. Milberg

in Mind and the Frontal Lobes

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199791569
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919215 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791569.003.0060
The Aging Brain

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The aging brain undergoes a complex spectrum of changes likely beginning in middle age and continuing throughout adulthood. This chapter first provides a broad overview of the current status of neuroimaging and neuropsychological research examining age-related changes to brain structure and cognition. The review focuses on those studies that have aimed to differentiate normal from pathological aging. We then discuss evidence that aging may best be viewed as a continuum of variability in physiological systems and metabolic states. We propose that individual differences in variables such as vascular and cerebrovascular integrity may be the underlying cause of many of the specific age-related changes to the central nervous system. Finally, we provide suggestions for future research, including integration of cognitive and MRI techniques, and examination of age-related cognitive changes in the context of biological and physiological variation.

Keywords: aging; cognition; brain structure; neuroimaging; cerebrovascular risk

Chapter.  8590 words. 

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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