Sample Psychology Paper on Neurological and Cognitive Changes in Older Adults

Baulieu (1997), the nervous system is a complex system that regulates and coordinates all body activities. It consists of the central nervous system which is the brain and spinal cord. It controls the body’s movements, sense, thoughts and memory through nerves that carry signals to and from the brain to the rest of the body. Maturana (1978), Cognition is the process of acquiring understanding and knowledge through thought, experience, and the senses”. The body undergoes tremendous neurological and cognitive changes as a result of age. The brain undergoes shrinking and cortical thinning as well as structural and chemical changes as it advances in age, this in turn cause changes in its ability to properly coordinate the body’s activities.

Cognitive aging is the decline mental abilities that are caused by aging. Cognitive aging studies have identified neuro-inflammation as a major cause of cognitive decline and have also been associated with diseases that affect the elderly such as Alzheimer’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. It has also been noted that aging also causes reduction of the cerebral white matter which has is critical for the body’s cognitive functions (Marks et al., 2007). According to the study carried out, the integrity of the cerebral white matter can be better preserved in individuals who have higher levels of aerobic fitness.

Aging has been known to affects the overall body functionality as a result of muscle loss and bone density decline resulting in reduced strength, slower body response and mobility. According to a study conducted to describe age-related changes in the brain physiology, it was found that there was  increased reaction time in the older adults studied and that they engaged cortical and subcortical areas even in for the performance of simple motor  tasks unlike in the younger subjects, (Mattay et al., 2002).

 

 

 

Neurological preservation is critical to ensure that the elderly population lives well-balanced and productive lives. Tackling neuroinflammation can help keep Alzheimer and other brain diseases away and thus help the elderly to live fuller lives. According to a study carried out, musical training has helped evoke memory in Alzheimer’s disease patients, music-based interventions and have been found to promote the rehabilitation and care of ageing-related neurological illnesses (Särkämö & Sihvonen, 2018), the study provides insight in ways the brain can be stimulated through music to help in  neurological preservation.

Successful cognitive aging is retaining information processing capacity, cognitive reserve and enhancing brain capacity. There are many factors than can help promote it and ensure the cognitive reserve is maintained. Substance abuse, stress and sleeping disorders are known to cause poor physical and mental health, however physical exercises, good sleep hygiene and mental stimulation have been known to not only promote good health but also promote neuroplasticity which in turn promote cognitive reserve.

Neurological and cognitive changes in older adults cannot be avoided, however, living a healthier life may promote physical and mental well-being and ensure the elderly live fuller life and slow the changes in the advancement of age. Physical exercises, strict diets and keeping social connections is important in maintaining cognitive reserve and will help avoid neurological disorders brought about by age as well as lifestyle diseases such as diabetes.

 

 

REFERENCES

Baulieu, E. E. (1997). Neurosteroids: of the nervous system, by the nervous system, for the nervous system. Recent Progress in Hormone Research, 52, 1.

Marks, B. L., Madden, D. J., Bucur, B., Provenzale, J. M., White, L. E., Cabeza, R., & Huettel, S. A. (2007). Role of aerobic fitness and aging on cerebral white matter integrity. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1097(1), 171–174.

Mattay, V. S., Fera, F., Tessitore, A., Hariri, A. R., Das, S., Callicott, J. H., & Weinberger, D. R. (2002). Neurophysiological correlates of age-related changes in human motor function. Neurology, 58(4), 630–635.

Maturana, H. R. (1978). Cognition. In Wahrnehmung und Kommunikation (pp. 29–49). Peter Lang.

Särkämö, T., & Sihvonen, A. J. (2018). Golden oldies and silver brains: deficits, preservation, learning, and rehabilitation effects of music in ageing-related neurological disorders. Cortex, 109, 104–123.