Physiological brain aging is characterized by synapses loss and neurodegeneration that slowly lead to an age-related decline of cognition. Neural/synaptic redundancy and plastic remodelling of brain networking, also due to mental and physical training, promotes maintenance of brain activity in healthy elderly subjects for everyday life and good social behaviour and intellectual capabilities. However, age is the major risk factor for most common neurodegenerative disorders that impact on cognition, like Alzheimer's disease (AD). Brain electromagnetic activity is a feature of neuronal network function in various brain regions. Modern neurophysiological techniques, such as electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potentials (ERPs), are useful tools in the investigation of brain cognitive function in normal and pathological aging with an excellent time resolution. These techniques can index normal and abnormal brain aging analysis of corticocortical connectivity and neuronal synchronization of rhythmic oscillations at various frequencies. The present review suggests that discrimination between physiological and pathological brain aging clearly emerges at the group level, with suggested applications also at the level of single individual. The possibility of combining the use of EEG together with biological/neuropsychological markers and structural/functional imaging is promising for a low-cost, non-invasive, and widely available assessment of groups of individuals at-risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience