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Memory, brain and aging: The good, the bad and the promising

  • Author(s): Ober, Beth A.
  • et al.
Abstract

A large body of evidence converges on the conclusion that episodic memory (the recollection of personally experienced events) is the only long-term memory system that shows significant age-related deficits. Moreover, the brain regions most likely to show age-related volume loss are those most critically involved in episodic memory. Older adult brains may have much greater plasticity (capacity to change) than once believed; for example, neurogenesis (the birth of new neurons), increases in cognitive (includ-ing memory) performance, and increases in regional brain volume have all been shown to occur in older adulthood, as a result of physical or mental activity/training. The next wave of research will enhance our understanding of brain plasticity in adulthood and enable specific guidelines for lifestyle or pharmacological treatments that optimize brain and memory functioning well into late adulthood.

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