A growing body of evidence suggests that healthy elderly individuals and patients with Alzheimer's disease retain an important potential for neuroplasticity. This review summarizes studies investigating the modulation of neural activity and structural brain integrity in response to interventions involving cognitive training, physical exercise and non-invasive brain stimulation in healthy elderly and cognitively impaired subjects (including patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease). Moreover, given the clinical relevance of neuroplasticity, we discuss how evidence for neuroplasticity can be inferred from the functional and structural brain changes observed after implementing these interventions. We emphasize that multimodal programmes, which combine several types of interventions, improve cognitive function to a greater extent than programmes that use a single interventional approach. We suggest specific methods for weighting the relative importance of cognitive training, physical exercise and non-invasive brain stimulation according to the functional and structural state of the brain of the targeted subject to maximize the cognitive improvements induced by multimodal programmes.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Cognitive reserve
- Non-pharmacological interventions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology