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Nurturing the Older Brain and Mind$
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Pamela M. Greenwood and Raja Parasuraman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262017145

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262017145.001.0001

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Brain Aging and Cognitive Aging

Brain Aging and Cognitive Aging

(p.19) 3 Brain Aging and Cognitive Aging
Nurturing the Older Brain and Mind

Pamela M. Greenwood

Raja Parasuraman

The MIT Press

The results of studies which examined the idea that a decline in physical functioning does not necessarily result in a decline in mental functioning are presented. Magnetic-resonance imaging studies show that the brain loses volume with age, although this shrinkage is seen as part of the brain’s overall growth. The studies presented in this chapter suggest that regional brain shrinkage is not associated with cognitive decline. The chapter explores the relationship of aging with changes in neurons, dendrites, and synapses. Studies show that aging does not affect the hippocampal electrophysiology, which is the ability of the neuron to charge at rest and fire normally. Memory performance and hypertension’s association with glucose regulation and dentate gyrus function in humans are also explored, along with the role of chronic diseases in cognitive aging.

Keywords:   magnetic-resonance imaging, brain shrinkage, cognitive decline, glucose regulation, dentate gyrus, hippocampal electrophysiology

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