Biomedical Science & Research Journals | Is Brain Aging Retreating to an Infant Brain?

Brain aging considered in its normality that is, in the absence of obvious incapacities to independently perform common daily activities across the different human domains (sensorimotor, cognition, emotional, behavioural tasks), can be defined as a time related biological and psychological process that mainly involve the speed employed to achieve a specific task or total amount of operations that a single subject can simultaneously perform in a given period of time in comparison to younger ages. In this context then, normal brain aging capacities do not look like so dissimilar from the characteristic features of the brain capacities during infancy. Both periods of life, elderly (>75 years) and infancy (0- 24 months after full-term birth), are normally characterized by neurobiological changes that have, respectively, a forward and a backward impact on the rest of the lifespan.

While there are different possible overlapping characteristic in terms of global performance between elder and infants brains, still, it is not known if normal brain aging and normal brain development are indeed a going back and forth process in terms of neurobiological changes [1], genetic programming [2], and if the one and the other process are indeed modulated by environmental factors such as nutrition [3], familial and social environment, emotional stress (either negative or positive stress), ego-syntonic activities (school, job, leisure activities, affection, etc.). Newer findings are increasingly showing that the vulnerability of the brain during aging, as measured in a specific individual, could indeed represent the global or region-specific brain functional or dysfunctional outcome resulting from the accumulating interactions between both endogenous and exogenous components of the entire life that have mutually interrelated during the previous decades. While during elderly these interactions are a load that “push down” certain functions (e.g. memory storage capacities), during infancy the identical factors could “push up” the central nervous system to increase the level of complexity of the wiring until the individual-based genetic and environmental potential has been reached. Here, we have considered only the normal brain aging and developmental domains. However, the same type of considerations should be probably taken in account for aging related neurodegenerative processes, as well as for altered neurodevelopmental processes [4,5].

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