Brain Plasticity and Aging
The prevalence of most of the cerebral disorders in middle and old age has become obvious. Illnesses such as brain infarction, Parkinson’s disease, and the dementias, to mention only the most important ones, appear most frequently in later life. In addition to the burden they impose on the affected individuals and their families, such disorders consume socioeconomic resources. Both medical practice and research are challenged to alleviate disabilities originating in the diseased brain and to elucidate their underlying causes. To do this, it would seem necessary to determine whether aging per se inevitably leads to cerebral disorders such as those mentioned or whether such brain disorders occur in middle and old age independently of normal brain aging processes. Several findings support the view that normal cerebral aging is distinct from cerebral disorders of later life, particularly dementia (for review, see Hoyer 1982 b). For the normal brain, however, it has been possible to demonstrate certain differences between adulthood and senescence relating to mental capacities such as intelligence (Baltes and Schaie 1976; Baltes and Willis 1982; Horn and Cattell 1976; Horn and Donaldson 1976) and biological processes such as morphological and biochemical events (for review, see Hoyer 1982 a). It is therefore necessary to define the normal ranges of brain functions as they relate to age and to evaluate the effects of stress conditions on brain functions in later life in order to study the plasticity of the aging brain.
KeywordsCreatine Phosphate Brain Cortex Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle Glycolytic Flux Brain Plasticity
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