Cognitive plasticity in the aging mind

(Weird: Found this one buried in my “Drafts” folder. I think I originally wrote it in early January. Better late than never, I suppose.)

The December issue of Psychology and Aging is devoted to the relationship between cognitive plasticity and aging. The pieces range from hardcore cellular neuroscience (“Stem-cell-associated structural and functional plasticity in the aging hippocampus“) to the consequences of video game training. Many of the articles address an important and often ignored issue: Is there anything we can do about age-related cognitive decline?

Here’s the abstract of the introductory article, by Ulrich Mayr:

Decades of cognitive aging research have led to a picture of the aging mind that is primarily characterized by gradual, though relatively broad, cognitive decline across the life span. Until recently, relatively little attention has been devoted to the question of whether there are ways to slow down, if not stop, this decline. With the special section on cognitive plasticity in the aging mind, we respond to what seems to be a beginning of the reversal of this trend (e.g., Kramer & Willis, 2002). In this short introduction, the author provides some context and a preview of the articles that appear in the special section.