Enhancing Cognitive Functioning and Brain Plasticity

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Enhancing Cognitive Functioning and Brain PlasticityWojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Arthur Kramer, Leonard Poon
US Price: $49
248 pages

About the Contibutors | Table of Contents

Enhancing Cognitive Functioning and Brain Plasticity offers a synergistic view of the complex role of exercise, physical activity, and intellectual stimulation in the cognitive and brain functioning of older adults. Using the research and implications suggested by the text’s contributors, each an expert in his or her respective field, readers will deepen current knowledge and expand their perspectives regarding the influence of exercise and physical activity on the aging brain.

As the final text of the three-volume Aging, Exercise, and Cognition series, Enhancing Cognitive Functioning and Brain Plasticity examines exercise and nonexercise interventions shown to influence cognition and brain plasticity in elderly humans and older animals. The most current research is presented in nine chapters, each with a concluding section to summarize important information and suggest avenues for further study. The text also discusses how state-of-the-art neuroimaging measures, including event-related brain potentials, positron emission tomography, and functional magnetic resonance imaging, are used in the study of individual differences in cognition and brain functioning.

Readers interested in the effects of environment on the psychosocial functioning of older adults will find compelling evidence regarding the positive influence of cognitive training and intellectual engagement. The book also discusses the effects of exercise on the reduction of age-related declines in both context-specific skills and broader processes and abilities. Data on the influence of both controlled laboratory interventions and more realistic lifestyle interventions provide a complete look at how to enhance cognitive performance and preserve cognitive function in older adults.

With directions for further research suggested throughout the text, Enhancing Cognitive Functioning and Brain Plasticity provides an excellent framework for continued study of aging from psychological and neuroscientific perspectives. The review of literature regarding the effects of exercise on neurocognitive functioning across the life span and presentation of the effects of exercise on performance, learning, and memory add to mounting evidence supporting the role of exercise and physical activity as protective measures against cognitive loss during aging. The text concludes with a thoughtful discussion of when and how the relationship between exercise and physical activity interventions and cognitive improvement could be translated into specific public health recommendations.

Featuring the latest research from leading experts compiled into one complete volume, Enhancing Cognitive Functioning and Brain Plasticity shows that a physically active lifestyle contributes significantly to the cognitive functioning of the aging brain.

This Aging, Exercise, and Cognition Series presents advanced research and key issues for understanding and researching the links between exercise, aging, and cognition. The three volumes in this series are essential references for cognitive gerontologists, medical and health science researchers, exercise science researchers and professionals, and public health administrators interested in scientific evidence demonstrating the beneficial effects of regular physical activity on cognitive functioning and general health during aging.

About the Contributors

Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, PhD, serves as both department head and professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He served on the World Health Organization Scientific Advisory Committee, which issued guidelines for physical activity for older adults. Chodzko-Zajko chairs the Active Aging Partnership, a national coalition in the area of healthy aging linking the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Institute of Aging, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Geriatrics Society, the National Council on Aging, the American Association of Retired Persons, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Since 2002, Chodzko-Zajko has served as principal investigator of the National Blueprint Project, a coalition of more than 50 national organizations with a joint commitment to promoting independent, active aging in the 50-plus population. He was founding editor of the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity and president of the International Society for Aging and Physical Activity.

He is frequently invited to speak about healthful aging at national and international meetings. Chodzko-Zajko has appeared often on television and radio, including the NBC Today Show, National Public Radio, and CNN.

Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, holds the Swanlund endowed chair at the University of Illinois. Kramer is a fellow in the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society and is a member of the executive committee of the International Attention and Performance Society. He is also the director of the Biomedical Imaging Center, codirector of the NIH Roybal Center for Healthy Minds, and a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois.

A major focus of research at Dr. Kramer's lab is the understanding and enhancement of cognitive and neural plasticity across the life span. Dr. Kramer served as an associate editor of Perception and Psychophysics and is currently a member of seven editorial boards. He is a recent recipient of the NIH Ten-Year MERIT Award. Kramer's research has been featured in numerous print, radio, and electronic media: the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, CBS Evening News, Today Show, NPR, and Saturday Night Live.

Leonard W. Poon, PhD, is a professor of public health and psychology, chair of the faculty of gerontology, and director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Georgia at Athens. He received his PhD in experimental psychology in 1972 from the University of Denver and has studied aging and cognition for over 30 years with specific emphasis on environmental and lifestyle influences that enhance cognitive functioning in older adults.

A fellow of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, Association of Gerontology in Higher Education, and the Gerontology Society of America, Poon was a Fulbright senior research scholar in Sweden and a senior visiting research scientist to Japan. In 2000, Poon received an honorary doctorate of philosophy from Lund University in Sweden. Among his research awards are the NIA Special Research Award, VA Medical Research Service Achievement Award, North American Leader in Psychogeriatrics, and Southern Gerontological Society Academic Gerontologist Award.

Poon's primary research areas are normal and pathological changes of memory processes in aging, clinical assessment of memory (including assessment of early stages of dementia of the Alzheimer's type), and survival characteristics and adaptation of centenarians. He is currently directing a nine-university, NIA-funded program studying the genetic basis of longevity, relationships between the brain and behavior in Alzheimer's disease, and daily functioning capacities of the oldest old.

Poon currently resides in Athens, Georgia. In his free time he enjoys cycling, photography, and traveling.

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