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Why can't the aging brain adapt to the aging body?

During aging, the ability of people to accurately control their movements deteriorates partially due to a change in the properties of the body (e.g., muscles, tendons). While the brain of young adults would be able to cope with such a change in the body, the brain of elderly people cannot. Here, the mechanisms of motor adaptation will be investigated in detail in elderly adults in order to understand why the brain cannot adapt to the aging body. This impairment is probably linked to the fact that many cells in the brain of elderly people become non-functional. Interestingly, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can recruit non-functional cells. Therefore, I will investigate the ability of tDCS to recruit the non-functional cells of the aging brain in order to temporarily improve motor function in elderly people. The effect of tDCS on brain activity will be monitored via functional magnetic resonance imaging in order to gain insights into the neural substrates of tDCS-mediated improvements in motor function. While tDCS will never fully restore motor functions in elderly adults, it could temporarily help them to regain some functions that would be later maintained via other rehabilitation programs.
Date:1 Oct 2014  →  30 Sep 2016
Keywords:body, aging, brain
Disciplines:Neurosciences, Biological and physiological psychology, Cognitive science and intelligent systems, Developmental psychology and ageing