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An Overview of Nonpathological Geroneuropsychology: Implications for Nursing Practice and Research

Vance, David E.; Graham, Martha A.; Fazeli, Pariya L.; Heaton, Karen; Moneyham, Linda

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: February 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 1 - p 43–53
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0b013e31823ae48b
Feature Article

ABSTRACT: One aspect of successful aging is maintaining cognitive functioning, which includes both subjective cognitive functioning and objective cognitive functioning even in lieu of subtle cognitive deficits that occur with normal, nonpathological aging. Age-related cognitive deficits emerge across several domains including attention, memory, language, speed of processing, executive, and psychomotor, just to name a few. A primary theory explaining such cognitive deficits is cognitive reserve theory; it posits that biological factors such as demyelination and oxidative stress interfere with neuronal communication, which eventually produces observable deficits in cognitive functioning. Therefore, it is important to maintain or improve cognitive reserve to augment cognitive functioning in later life. This article provides a general overview of the principles of geroneuropsychology along with implications for nursing practice and research.

Martha A. Graham, MA MGS BA, is a program manager II at the Edward R. Roybal Center for Translational Research in Aging and Mobility, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

Pariya L. Fazeli, MA BA, is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology and Edward R. Roybal Center for Translational Research in Aging and Mobility, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

Karen Heaton, RN PhD MSN, is an assistant professor at the School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

Linda Moneyham, PhD RN FAAN, is a professor and the Rachel Z. Booth Endowed Chair at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to David E. Vance, PhD MGS, at devance@uab.edu. He is an associate professor at the School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses