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Neuroplasticity and Successful Cognitive Aging: A Brief Overview for Nursing

Vance, David E.; Kaur, Jaspreet; Fazeli, Pariya L.; Talley, Michele H.; Yuen, Hon K.; Kitchin, Beth; Lin, Feng

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: August 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 4 - p 218–227
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0b013e3182527571
Article

ABSTRACT: The brain remains dynamic even in older age and can benefit from mental exercises. Thus, it is important to understand the concepts of positive and negative neuroplasticity and how these mechanisms either support or detract from cognitive reserve. This article provides a brief review of these key concepts using four exemplary studies that clearly show the effects that these neurological mechanisms exert on cognitive reserve and cognitive functioning. From this review, a working knowledge of how neuroplasticity and cognitive reserve are expressed in patients will be provided along with how this information can be incorporated into nursing practice and research.

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. He was supported by the UAB Edward R. Roybal Center for Translational Research on Aging and Mobility (NIA 2 P30 AG022838).

Jaspreet Kaur, BS, is a graduate student at the Department of Psychology and Edward R. Roybal Center for Translational Research in Aging and Mobility, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

Pariya L. Fazeli, PhD, is a research associate at the Department of Psychology and Edward R. Roybal Center for Translational Research in Aging and Mobility, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

Michele H. Talley, MSN CRNP, is an instructor at the School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

Hon K. Yuen, OTR/L PhD, is a professor at the School of Health Professions, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

Beth Kitchin, PhD, is an assistant professor at the School of Health Professions, Nutrition Sciences Department, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

Feng Lin, PhD RN, is a research associate at the School of Nursing, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses