Revitalizing the aged brain.
ABSTRACT Optimal cognitive and emotional function is vital to independence, productivity, and quality of life. Cognitive impairment without dementia may be seen in 16% to 33% of adults older than 65 years, and is associated with significant emotional distress. Cognitive and emotional well-being are inextricably linked. This article qualifies revitalizing the aged brain, discusses neuroplasticity, and suggests practical neuroplasticity-based strategies to improve the cognitive and emotional well-being of older adults.
SourceAvailable from: Irene Maeve Rea[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: It is unclear whether physical activity in later life is beneficial for maintenance of cognitive function. We performed a systematic review examining the effects of exercise on cognitive function in older individuals, and present possible mechanisms whereby physical activity may improve cognition. Sources consisted of PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and the University of Washington, School of Medicine Library Database, with a search conducted on August 15, 2012 for publications limited to the English language starting January 1, 2000. Randomized controlled trials including at least 30 participants and lasting at least 6 months, and all observational studies including a minimum of 100 participants for one year, were evaluated. All subjects included were at least 60 years of age. Twenty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-six studies reported a positive correlation between physical activity and maintenance or enhancement of cognitive function. Five studies reported a dose-response relationship between physical activity and cognition. One study showed a nonsignificant correlation. The preponderance of evidence suggests that physical activity is beneficial for cognitive function in the elderly. However, the majority of the evidence is of medium quality with a moderate risk of bias. Larger randomized controlled trials are needed to clarify the association between exercise and cognitive function and to determine which types of exercise have the greatest benefit on specific cognitive domains. Despite these caveats, the current evidence suggests that physical activity may help to improve cognitive function and, consequently, delay the progression of cognitive impairment in the elderly.Clinical Interventions in Aging 01/2014; 9:661-682. DOI:10.2147/CIA.S55520 · 2.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Interest surrounds the role of sex-hormones in regulating brain function outside of reproductive behaviour. Declining androgen production in aging males has been associated with cognitive impairment, depression and increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Indication for testosterone replacement therapy is based on biochemically determined low circulating testosterone combined with manifest symptoms. However, which aspects of age-related cognitive decline are attributable to low circulating testosterone remain ambiguous. Studies examining cognition in aging men receiving testosterone replacement therapy have yielded equivocal results. The exact role of testosterone in maintaining cognitive function and the underlying neural mechanisms are largely unknown, though it would appear to be domain specific. Clarity in this area will provide clinical direction toward addressing an increasing healthcare burden of mental health decline coincident with increasing longevity. The premise that androgens contribute to maintaining aspects of mental health in aging men by preserving hippocampal neurogenesis will be used as a forum in this review to discuss current knowledge and the need for further studies to better define testosterone replacement strategies for aging male health.Neural Regeneration Research 10/2012; 7(28):2227-39. DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1673-5374.2012.028.009 · 0.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were to describe the characteristics of older Australian university students (aged 60+ years); to identify the factors that motivate late-life, tertiary-level learning; and to capture older students’ views about the role of tertiary-level learning in promoting healthy aging. In 2012, an invitation to participate in the study was sent to all 39 Australian universities, seeking their support and cooperation to recruit students aged 60+ years into the study. Eligible participants were asked to complete an online survey that comprised a range of closed and open-ended questions related to their university study. Narrative data were coded into themes using an inductive approach in QSR NVivo. A total of 626 older students completed the online survey. Just over half (55%) of the sample were women, 86% were aged between 60–70 years of age, 49% held a graduate qualification, and the majority (69%) were born in Australia. Participants cited a range of personal and vocational motivations for enrolling in a university course. They believed that university-level learning kept the mind and brain active; enabled access to an interesting, challenging, and purposeful activity; promoted social engagement and intergenerational communication; and improved confidence, knowledge, and skills. Future prospective experimental studies of older learners are required to objectively assess the impact of university-level learning on their health and wellbeing, including cognitive function. These data will quantify the benefits of tertiary-level learning to older people and society.Educational Gerontology 03/2014; 40(10). DOI:10.1080/03601277.2014.886860 · 0.39 Impact Factor