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J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv.50(6):30-7; quiz 46-7.

Neuropsychology and cognitive health in healthy older adults: a brief overview for psychiatric nurses.


Department of Psychology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA.


This article contains a brief synopsis on nonpathological aspects of the neuropsychology of aging and cognitive health. In nonpathological aging, normal subtle decline occurs in a number of cognitive domains such as executive functioning, speed of processing, memory, language, and psychomotor ability; however, some domains of cognitive functioning appear to increase with age, such as vocabulary and crystallized intelligence. In the neuropsychology and the cognitive aging literatures, several hypotheses for such age-related declines are proposed, including the diminished speed-of-processing hypothesis, the common cause hypothesis, and the frontal aging hypothesis. As these age-related changes diminish cognitive reserve, the decline in the related cognitive domains emerges. Ways to protect and improve cognitive health are suggested to encourage positive neuroplasticity and discourage negative neuroplasticity. Implications for nursing practice are provided.

Copyright 2012, SLACK Incorporated.

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