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Aging, Brain Plasticity, and Integrative Preventive Medicine 

Aging, Brain Plasticity, and Integrative Preventive Medicine
Chapter:
Aging, Brain Plasticity, and Integrative Preventive Medicine
Author(s):

Michael M. Merzenich

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190241254.003.0016
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date: 17 October 2018

This chapter reviews aging and the brain from an important, alternative, still-underappreciated scientific and medical perspective. It briefly describes the history of brain plasticity-related neuroscience, then describes change processes that shape our brains in ways that ultimately distinguish the typical struggling older versus peak-performing younger brain. It considers how and why processes that contribute to personal growth at a younger age are commonly thrown into reverse at an older age. It reviews the development of new brain science–based tools that appear to throw the “plasticity switch” for brain health back in a corrective and strengthening direction, where change processes again support the growth and the more reliable maintenance of physical and functional brain health. Finally, it summarizes how this translational science shall almost certainly evolve to enable a new, neuroscience-directed medical era of brain health management for our older-age populations.

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