Successful Cognitive Aging

  • Colin A. DeppEmail author
  • Alexandria Harmell
  • Ipsit V. Vahia
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 10)


Given the rapid rate of population aging, basic science and public health efforts have increasingly focused on the determinants of successful cognitive aging. In this chapter, we review the definition and biological, psychological, and environmental determinants of cognitive health in later life. Successful cognitive aging is a multi-dimensional construct that lacks a consensus operationalized definition, and has been variously conceptualized in an ipsative, normative, or criterion-referenced manner. Nevertheless, there are a number of biomarkers, at the genetic and cellular level, that provide indicators of cognitive health in aging. Functional and structural neuroimaging suggest multiple pathways to successful cognitive aging, by way of brain reserve and cognitive reserve. A number of behavioral and environmental interventions, including dietary restriction, physical activity, and cognitive stimulation, are promising avenues for extending the cognitive healthspan associated with normal aging. Thus, there is a variety of recent findings providing optimism that successful cognitive aging, howsoever defined, will be attainable by more older adults in the future.


Aging Older adults Cognitive Neuropsychology Brain Health behavior Lifestyle 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin A. Depp
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alexandria Harmell
    • 3
  • Ipsit V. Vahia
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on AgingSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical PsychologySan Diego State University/University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUS

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