Facts About Brain Aging
In the late 19th century and much later in the 1960's, scientists discovered that a barrier existed between blood and the brain. This blood brain barrier prevents disease-causing agents in the blood from entering the brain. Yet the brain much also receive circulating nutrients from the blood in order to function properly. This is accomplished by means of specialized receptor-mediated transport systems that exist on the membranes of endothelial cells that comprise the capillary network of the blood brain barrier.
Aging precipitates a progressive decline in overall cognitive function. It causes us to lose our ability to store and retrieve from short-term memory and to learn new information. Many neurological diseases are directly related to aging. However, age-associated mental impairment can have a variety of causes beyond overall aging. Conditions that affect the brain and result in intellectual, behavioral, and psychological dysfunction include medication side effects, substance abuse, metabolic disorders, neurological disorders, infections, trauma, toxic factors, hormonal changes, depression, circulatory disorders and mid-life blood pressure.
Age-associated mental impairment can range in severity from forgetfulness to senility to dementia. Whatever its form or cause, it need not be accepted as a consequence of growing older. Behavioral modifications, such as increased physical and mental activity and a healthy diet, can improve mental function both directly and indirectly by enhancing overall health. Memory can also be improved by using aids such as lists and routines, and by making connections to exiting knowledge. Age-associated mental impairment can be treated safely and effectively with memory-enhancing nutrients that increase available acetylcholine, brain cell energy boosters, hormones, vitamins that become deficient, and antioxidants.
Excerpt from Brain Aging
in The Directory of Life Extension Supplements, 2000. pgs. 60-61