Age distribution of U.S population, 1980, 1990, and 2002 Data source: The Bureau of the Census Year 1980Year 1990Year 2002 85+ 80-84 75-79 70-74 65-69 60-64 55-59 50-54 45-49 40-44 35-39 30-34 25-29 20-24 15-19 10-14 5-9 0-4 0% 5 % 10%
Our Aging Populace The most rapidly growing age group worldwide is that over the age of 85 years. In the United States there are currently about 4 million persons over the age of 85; by 2050, nearly 19 million are projected.
Thornton Wilder 1897-1975 THE EIGHTH DAY, 1967 THE DRUNKEN SISTERS, 1970 THEOPHILUS NORTH, 1973
The Chicago Picasso 1967 Pablo Ruiz Picasso 1881-1973
Alberta Hunter (1895-1984) Legendary blues singer, lyricist, and actress Alberta Hunter, a distinctive stylist and one of the top recording artists in the 1920s and 1930s, experienced a dramatic comeback in her old age.
Bertrand Arthur William Russell 1872 - 1970 (1949) The Philosophy of Logical Atomism (1954) Human Society in Ethics and Politics (1955) Russell-Einstein Manifesto (1957) Organizes the first Pugwash Conference (1958) Founding President of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (1961) Imprisoned for one week in connection with anti-nuclear protests Just a few examples of Russell’s late life (age 75-97) work
Frank Lloyd Wright 1867-1959 Price Company Tower (1952) Beth Sholom Synagogue (1954) Guggenheim Museum, (1956) Marin County Civic Center (1957)
Changes in Brain Function Patterns of Brain Activation – Compensatory Plasticity – Non-selective Recruitment Inhibitory Control of Attention & Behavior – Evidence from EEG – Evidence from PET/FMRI – Animal Models (Center Surround)
Models of Cognitive Aging Generalized Slowing Working Memory Dedifferentiation Inhibition
Shifting Attention Summary Speed of attention deployment does not change with healthy aging The ability to gate (inhibit) irrelevant sensory information diminishes with normal aging This effect may be modality-specific Decline of gating is most apparent over frontal regions suggesting age-related changes in frontal inhibitory functions
Normal Aging and Memory Anna Thompson of South Boston employed as a cook in a school cafeteria reported at the City Hall Station that she had been held up on State Street the night before and robbed $56. She had four small children the rent was due and they had not eaten for two days. The police, touched by the woman‘s story took up a collection for her.
Aging and dementia Dementia is leading cause of cognitive disability in elderly Definition: The loss of intellectual functions (such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning) of sufficient severity to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. – Memory + one other area of functioning ~50% of people > 85 years have cognitive impairment or dementia Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia
Memory & aging summary Aging changes most pronounced in long-term memory – Decline is inevitable, but highly variable Memory changes linked to medial temporal lobe changes Many elderly people (>85 years) develop severe cognitive disability (e.g., dementia) limiting everyday functioning Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia – AD is NOT accelerated aging
Additional References Baltes, P.B. and Lindenberger, U., Emergence of a powerful connection between sensory and cognitive functions across the adult life span: a new window to the study of cognitive aging?, Psychology and Aging, 12 (1997) 12-21. Birren, J.E. and Fisher, L.M., Aging and speed of behavior: possible consequences for psychological functioning, Annual Review of Psychology, 46 (1995) 329-53. Chao, L.L. and Knight, R.T., Prefrontal deficits in attention and inhibitory control with aging, Cerebral Cortex, 7 (1997) 63-69. Craik, F.I.M. and T.A. Salthouse, eds. The handbook of aging and cognition. Second ed. 2000, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, NJ. Hasher, L., Zacks, R. T. (1988). Working memory, comprehension, and aging: A review and a new view. The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 22, 193-225. Polich, J., EEG and ERP assessment of normal aging, Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 104 (1997) 244-256. Raz, N., Gunning-Dixon, F.M., Head, D., Dupuis, J.H. and Acker, J.D., Neuroanatomical correlates of cognitive aging: Evidence from structural magnetic resonance imaging, Neuropsychology, 12 (1998). Salthouse, T.A., Independence of age-related influences on cognitive abilities across the life span, Developmental Psychology, 34 (1998) 851-64.