Health and Aging

Memory and Cognitive Health

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?

Learn about participating in Alzheimer’s research in new NIH booklet

Many people who have been affected by Alzheimer’s wonder how they can help combat this devastating disease. Volunteering to participate in research is one powerful way. Right now, at least 70,000 volunteers are needed for more than 150 active Alzheimer’s and related clinical trials and studies in the United States. All kinds of people, including healthy older adults, can join in this critical research.

Blog post - encouraging older adults to participate in research

Cartoon of four people in conversation.

Researchers tell us that recruiting older adults for research studies—especially older adults from underrepresented groups—is one of their greatest challenges.

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