What are the threats to successful brain and cognitive aging?

Michela Gallagher, Ozioma C. Okonkwo, Susan M. Resnick, William J. Jagust, Tammie L.S. Benzinger, Peter R. Rapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The structure and function of the brain change over the life span. Aged brains often accumulate pathologic lesions, such as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which lead to diminished cognitive ability in some, but not all, individuals. The basis of this vulnerability and resilience is unclear. Age-related changes can alter neural firing patterns and ability to form new memories. Risk factors for cognitive decline include male sex and apolipoprotein E genotype. Physical activity seems to be protective against cognitive decline. Longitudinal studies have shown that, although the onset of amyloid pathology and associated cognitive decline can vary greatly, once it begins, the rate of deposition is similar among affected individuals. This session of the Cognitive Aging Summit III explored fixed and modifiable factors that can threaten cognitive function in aging adults and approaches to modulate at least some of these risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-134
Number of pages5
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Compensation
  • Maintenance
  • Modifiable factors
  • Pathology
  • Reserve
  • Resilience


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