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Neurobiology of Aging and the Diagnosis of Generalized Degenerative Disease

Powerful Essays
The neurological deficits of aging may be viewed from a developmental perspective. That is, the decline in functional efficiency and deterioration of highly specialized non-dividing neuronal cells is the end point of a maturation process that occurs throughout adult life. Involution to senescence is a normal, inevitable, and inexorable physiological march; the end phase of which is expressed in generally predictable and specifically unpredictable ways. The earliest of these developmental changes occurs long before senescence and the effects of these physiological events quietly accumulate toward expression late in life.

There is a relationship between chronological age and the developmental dimensions of human life, including behavior and intelligence. This relationship begins at conception, and is at that point the only moment when there is exact correspondence between chronology and development. Afterwards, behavior or structural differentiation have shifting reference points: one with some structural differentiation or performance milestone already achieved, the other with the time chronology (age) of the organism. Development refers to a continuum of lifelong biological and psychological processes. Neurological development along the biological scale is swift and complex during the prenatal period and small units of time constitute considerable change. In infancy, there is less neurological change as compared to prenatal development, but it is considerably more than those changes that occur in adult life. Indeed, in adult life, neurological development largely constitutes a diminution in function. Nonetheless, until the onset of senescence, in the absence of organic brain pathology, psychological development and learning co...

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