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Front Syst Neurosci. 2014 Sep 2;8:153. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2014.00153. eCollection 2014.

Effects of non-pharmacological or pharmacological interventions on cognition and brain plasticity of aging individuals.

Author information

1
Molecular Neurology Unit, Center of Excellence on Aging, University "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy.
2
Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, University "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy.
3
Molecular Neurology Unit, Center of Excellence on Aging, University "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy ; Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, University "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy ; Departments of Neurology and Pharmacology, Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, University of California-Irvine Irvine, CA, USA.

Abstract

Brain aging and aging-related neurodegenerative disorders are major health challenges faced by modern societies. Brain aging is associated with cognitive and functional decline and represents the favourable background for the onset and development of dementia. Brain aging is associated with early and subtle anatomo-functional physiological changes that often precede the appearance of clinical signs of cognitive decline. Neuroimaging approaches unveiled the functional correlates of these alterations and helped in the identification of therapeutic targets that can be potentially useful in counteracting age-dependent cognitive decline. A growing body of evidence supports the notion that cognitive stimulation and aerobic training can preserve and enhance operational skills in elderly individuals as well as reduce the incidence of dementia. This review aims at providing an extensive and critical overview of the most recent data that support the efficacy of non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions aimed at enhancing cognition and brain plasticity in healthy elderly individuals as well as delaying the cognitive decline associated with dementia.

KEYWORDS:

brain aging; cognitive enhancing drugs; cognitive enrichment; neuronal plasticity; non-pharmacological interventions

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