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A Prospective Observational Study of Evaluation of Cardiovascular Autonomic Functions in Aging

The book presents the most recent findings on topics such as general aspects of the autonomic nervous system, main neurotransmitter systems, age-dependent changes of neuroeffector mechanisms in target organs, and therapeutic perspectives. It also provides a comprehensive analysis of the possible consequences of these findings. Aging of the Autonomic Nervous System will be a useful volume for gerontologists and neuroscientists. Read more Read less. Tell the Publisher!

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Long-Term Monitoring and Analysis of Age-Related Changes on Autonomic Nervous Function

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Episodic memory that is, remembering autobiographical events and their timings and sequence also gradually declines in many older people Fjell et al, The ability to quickly name a common object usually remains stable up to the age of 70, but then declines with advancing years Harada et al, The progressive loss of neurons, reduction in impulse velocity and minor changes in the spinal cord lead to a slowing down of reaction times Spirduso, This can create problems, particularly when a fast reaction is essential for example, to step out of the way of oncoming traffic.

It is almost impossible to determine whether depression in older people occurs as a normal consequence of ageing or as a result of chemical imbalances seen in types of depression that also affect younger people. Concentrations of neurotransmitters involved in lifting mood particularly serotonin diminish with age and this can contribute to symptoms of depression Fidalgo et al, Depression can often produce symptoms that mimic dementia pseudo-dementia and this often causes great anxiety.


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On the whole, older people are less prone to emotional outbursts than younger people. This may be related to the relative structural stability of some of the brain regions linked to emotions. Most studies of the amygdalae — which are heavily involved in impulsive behaviours and emotional reactions — reveal little evidence of atrophy or shrinkage at a much slower rate than in other brain regions.

Additionally, the amygdalae also appear to retain most of their functional activity in older age Mather, Because the overall neural mass reduces with age, neuroactive drugs such as antidepressants and neuroleptics can be more potent in older people. Doses normally prescribed to adults may induce confusion or delirium, and may therefore need to be adjusted. However, it is generally recognised that the main risk factor for developing dementia is advancing age Fjell et al, This is defined as the physical resources of the brain in terms of brain mass and number of neurons; a larger brain reserve is often associated with better outcomes after brain injury and in various neurological diseases Tucker and Stern, The brain reserve is not necessarily a good predictor of cognitive function many people with normal cognition have significant brain atrophy , so the concept of cognitive reserve has emerged.

The Autonomic Nervous System

People with a high cognitive reserve are able to use their brain reserve more efficiently to perform tasks, and this seems to happen through increased efficiency of functional connections between neurons Marques et al, Good predictors of a high cognitive reserve include high education level, high IQ, highly complex occupation and large amount of social interaction. It is a common misconception that ageing naturally leads to conditions such as confusion, dementia and delirium.

Indeed, in the absence of disease, adequate mental function can be retained throughout life. London: Age UK. Chen JJ et al Age-associated reductions in cerebral blood flow are independent from regional atrophy. Chowdhury R et al Dopamine restores reward prediction errors in old age. Clewett DV et al Neuromelanin marks the spot: identifying a locus coeruleus biomarker of cognitive reserve in healthy aging.

Neurobiology of Aging; Esiri MM Ageing and the brain. Journal of Pathology; 2, Fidalgo S et al Serotonin: from top to bottom. Biogerontology; 1, Fjell AM et al What is normal in normal aging?

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Progress in Neurobiology; Hotta H, Uchida S Aging of the autonomic nervous system and possible improvements in autonomic activity using somatic afferent stimulation. Joynt RJ Aging and the nervous system. In: The Merck Manual of Geriatrics. Neurobiology of Aging; 3, Mahncke HW et al Memory enhancement in healthy older adults using a brain plasticity-based training program: a randomized, controlled study. Marques P et al The functional connectome of cognitive reserve. Human Brain Mapping; 9, Mather M The affective neuroscience of aging. Annual Review of Psychology; Montagne A et al Blood-brain barrier breakdown in the aging human hippocampus.

Neuron; 2, Nyberg L et al Memory aging and brain maintenance. Trends in Cognitive Sciences; 5, Ottis P et al Human and rat brainlipofuscin proteome. Proteomics; , Parashar R et al Age related changes in autonomic functions. Parkinson GM et al Perturbed cholesterol homeostasis in aging spinal cord.

Raz N, Rodrigue KM Differential aging of the brain: patterns, cognitive correlates and modifiers.

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews; 6, Rosso AL et al Aging, the central nervous system, and mobility. The Journals of Gerontology. Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics.

Types of Autonomic Disorders

Steffener J, Stern Y Exploring the neural basis of cognitive reserve in aging. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta; 3, Current Alzheimer Research; 8: 4, Wyss-Coray T Ageing, neurodegeneration and brain rejuvenation. Nature; , Sign in or Register a new account to join the discussion. You are here: Older People Nurses. Anatomy and physiology of ageing 5: the nervous system. Abstract The nervous system controls the activities of all body organs and tissues, receiving input from sensory organs and responding via effector organs.

Source: Catherine Hollick. Also in this series Anatomy and physiology of ageing 1: the cardiovascular system Anatomy and physiology of ageing 2: the respiratory system Anatomy and physiology of ageing 3: the digestive system Anatomy and physiology of ageing 4: the renal system Anatomy and physiology of ageing 6: the eyes and ears Anatomy and physiology of ageing 7: the endocrine system Anatomy and physiology of ageing 8: the reproductive system Anatomy and physiology of ageing 9: the immune system Anatomy and physiology of ageing the musculoskeletal system Anatomy and physiology of ageing the skin.

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