Health and Aging

Memory and Cognitive Health

Plan now to attend the Cognitive Aging Summit 2017

Mark your calendars April 6-7 for the upcoming Cognitive Aging Summit 2017 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Researchers from across the country will gather to discuss promising areas of research into age-related brain and cognitive changes, with a special focus on neuroplasticity, compensation, resilience, and reserve. The two-day meeting will build on priorities and research directions identified at the last two Cognitive Aging Summits held in 2007 and 2010.

Adaptive brain network change supports healthy cognitive aging in rats

Why does our ability to remember fail as we age? Is age-related memory loss normal, or a sign of something worse, like Alzheimer’s disease? A new study in rats suggests that part of the answer may rest on how effectively different parts of the aging brain ‘talk’ to each other. This has been a difficult problem to study in people because the earliest brain changes in Alzheimer’s disease can occur a decade or more before clinical symptoms.

Putting exercise to the test in people at risk for Alzheimer’s

The YMCA and scientists join forces in a new, NIA-supported clinical trial testing aerobic exercise as a way to slow cognitive decline in people with MCI.

Brain scans offer insights into loss of money skills

MRI scans show brain changes related to money management skills in older adults. Can researchers identify seniors at risk of losing financial capacity?

High blood pressure is linked to cognitive decline

Studies explore treatments, prevention

There’s a saying, “What’s good for your heart is good for your brain.” Evidence supports preventing or controlling cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure to protect brain health as adults grow into old age.

Age-related cognitive decline: Women are more resilient than men

Previous research has shown that aging affects cognitive ability, and that subtle sex differences in cognition exist across the lifespan. A recent observational study by Dr. Anna C. McCarrey and colleagues in NIA’s Intramural Research Program showed that cognitive ability in some, but not all, domains declines at a steeper rate for men than for women.

Does poor sleep raise risk for Alzheimer’s disease?

Are sleep disorders like sleep apnea a risk for Alzheimer’s and cognitive impairment? Research into the connection shows what happens in the brain and more.

Health professionals: Find Alzheimer’s and dementia resources

Do you work with patients or clients with cognitive impairment? Visit our new online portal for free clinical practice tools, training materials, and other resources for physicians, nurses, social workers, and other professionals.

You’ll find:

Use of anticholinergic drugs linked to higher dementia risk

Older adults who take anticholinergic drugs, which are commonly prescribed for a wide range of health conditions, may be at significantly higher risk of developing dementia—and the greater the use of the drugs, the higher the potential risk. The NIA-supported findings appeared online Jan. 26, 2015, in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Increased brain activity may compensate for amyloid pathology in older brains

Researchers have long wondered why some older people remain cognitively normal despite having abnormal levels of beta-amyloid in their brains, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. While research has shown that older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), which often leads to Alzheimer’s, frequently have increased activity in the hippocampus compared to their cognitively healthy peers, scientists questioned what the hyperactivity represented. Was it helping to compensate for declining brain function or signaling onset of the disease?

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