Environmental factors promoting neural plasticity: Insights from animal and human studies

Laura Mandolesi, Francesca Gelfo, Laura Serra, Simone Montuori, Arianna Polverino, Giuseppe Curcio, Giuseppe Sorrentino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We do not all grow older in the same way. Some individuals have a cognitive decline earlier and faster than others who are older in years but cerebrally younger. This is particularly easy to verify in people who have maintained regular physical activity and healthy and cognitively stimulating lifestyle and even in the clinical field. There are patients with advanced neurodegeneration, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), that, despite this, have mild cognitive impairment. What determines this interindividual difference? Certainly, it cannot be the result of only genetic factors. We are made in a certain manner and what we do acts on our brain. In fact, our genetic basis can be modulated, modified, and changed by our experiences such as education and life events; daily, by sleep schedules and habits; or also by dietary elements. And this can be seen as true even if our experiences are indirectly driven by our genetic basis. In this paper, we will review some current scientific research on how our experiences are able to modulate the structural organization of the brain and how a healthy lifestyle (regular physical activity, correct sleep hygiene, and healthy diet) appears to positively affect cognitive reserve.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7219461
JournalNeural Plasticity
Publication statusPublished - Jun 14 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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