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The Nervous System and Aging 

The Nervous System and Aging
Chapter:
The Nervous System and Aging
Author(s):

Per Brodal

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190228958.003.0010
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date: 05 March 2021

Chapter 10 deals with changes that occur in the brain as people grow older. Average brain weight, synaptic numbers, and neurotransmitters decline. Age-related changes affect especially neural networks of the prefrontal cortex and the medial temporal lobe-regions involved in memory and other cognitive functions. Nevertheless, most healthy elderly persons function remarkably well in spite of biologic alterations. This is believed to result from compensatory, use-dependent plasticity. Aging also entails a loss of peripheral receptors, which may compromise vision, hearing, and balance. Neurodegenerative diseases with massive loss of neurons in the cerebral cortex lead to dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease as the most common condition.

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