Neurologic disorders of aging

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By K K Jain MD

Neurologic disorders of aging are also known as or subsume Geriatric neurology. -ed

This clinical article reviews the changes in the brain that occur with aging and their manifestations. Some of the lesions observed in the brains of the elderly do not necessarily manifest clinically unless a certain threshold is reached. The distinction between healthy aging and dementia is discussed. Although changes in the brain that are associated with aging cannot be prevented, the onset of the impairment of function can be delayed and neuropsychological performance can be improved by certain measures, including mental and physical exercises. Future strategies based on advances in molecular neurology are also considered.

Key Points

  • Some neurologic disorders are more common in the elderly, and their prevalence is increasing with higher life expectancies.
  • Neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, neurochemical, and neuropsychological aspects of aging need to be studied to understand the clinical manifestations of neurologic disorders of the elderly and to differentiate them from normal aging.
  • There is some evidence that mental and physical exercise can reduce cognitive decline associated with aging.
  • In addition to pharmacotherapy, neurorehabilitation is important in the management of neurologic disorders of the elderly, with an emphasis on gait training.

In This Article

Historical note and nomenclature
Clinical manifestations
Pathogenesis and pathophysiology
Differential diagnosis
Diagnostic workup
Prognosis and complications
References cited