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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2015 Dec;70(12):1526-32. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glv130. Epub 2015 Sep 18.

Aging, the Central Nervous System, and Mobility in Older Adults: Neural Mechanisms of Mobility Impairment.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Stroke Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. fsorond@partners.org.
2
Institute on Aging, Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville.
3
Brain Rehabilitation Research Center, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, University of Florida, Gainesville.
4
Department of Neurology, Stroke Division, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston.
5
Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
6
Reynolds Oklahoma Center on Aging, Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
7
Department of Radiology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
8
Department of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel.
9
Sensory and Motor Disorders of Aging and.
10
Longitudinal Studies Section, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, Maryland.
11
Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
12
Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pennsylvania.
13
Department of Neurology, University of Toronto, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Canada.
14
Institute for Aging Research, Research, Hebrew Senior Life, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Mobility is crucial for successful aging and is impaired in many older adults. We know very little about the subtle, subclinical age-related changes in the central nervous system (CNS) that mediate mobility impairment.

METHODS:

A conference series focused on aging, the CNS, and mobility was launched. The second conference addressed major age-associated mechanisms of CNS-mediated mobility impairment. Speakers and conference attendees recommended key areas for future research, identified barriers to progress, and proposed strategies to overcome them.

RESULTS:

Priorities identified for future research include (a) studying interactions among different mechanisms; (b) examining effects of interventions targeting these mechanisms; (c) evaluating the effect of genetic polymorphisms on risks and course of age-related mobility impairment; and (d) examining the effect of age on CNS repair processes, neuroplasticity, and neuronal compensatory mechanisms. Key strategies to promote research include (a) establish standard measures of mobility across species; (b) evaluate the effect of aging in the absence of disease on CNS and mobility; and (c) use advanced computational methods to better evaluate the interactions between CNS and other systems involved in mobility.

CONCLUSIONS:

CNS is a major player in the process, leading to mobility decline with aging. Future research in this area has the potential to prolong independence in older persons. Better interactions among disciplines and shared research paradigms are needed to make progress. Research priorities include the development of innovative approaches to integrate research on aging, cognition, and movement with attention to neurovascular function, neuroplasticity, and neurophysiological reserve.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; CNS; Imaging; Mobility

PMID:
26386013
PMCID:
PMC4643615
DOI:
10.1093/gerona/glv130
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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