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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2015 Aug;55:453-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.06.008. Epub 2015 Jun 6.

Maintaining older brain functionality: A targeted review.

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Studies on Ageing and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Group, Department of Basic Psychology II, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:
Department of Orthopedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, Germany.
Institute of Electronics Engineering and Telematics of Aveiro and Department of Economics, Management and Industrial Engineering, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal.
Research Department, Community Clubs for Elders, Jerusalem, Israel.


The unprecedented growth in the number of older adults in our society is accompanied by the exponential increase in the number of elderly people who will suffer cognitive decline and dementia in the next decades. This will create an enormous cost for governments, families and individuals. Brain plasticity and its role in brain adaptation to the process of aging is influenced by other changes as a result of co-morbidities, environmental factors, personality traits (psychosocial variables) and genetic and epigenetic factors. This review summarizes recent findings obtained mostly from interventional studies that aim to prevent and/or delay age-related cognitive decline in healthy adults. There are a multitude of such studies. In this paper, we focused our review on physical activity, computerized cognitive training and social enhancement interventions on improving cognition, physical health, independent living and wellbeing of older adults. The methodological limitations of some of these studies, and the need for new multi-domain synergistic interventions, based on current advances in neuroscience and social-brain theories, are discussed.


Aging; Cognitive training; Dance; Information and communication technology; Neuroplasticity; Physical activity; Physical exercise; Social networks; Social-brain; Tai Chi; Video games

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