The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind - Barbara Strauch (2010)


This book is based primarily on extensive interviews with dozens of neuroscientists, psychologists, and cognitive researchers either in person, on the phone, through e-mail, or at conferences on the aging brain. When appropriate, I have also cited the principal scientific studies whose findings form the framework of the book. I relied, too, on a number of excellent books on aging and the brain, as well as interviews with just about anyone with a middle-aged brain who agreed to talk with me. The following gives sources by chapter.


Ephron, Nora. “Who Are You?” Op-Ed, New York Times, August 12, 2007.

Safire, William. “The Way We Live Now: On Language; Halfway Humanity.” The New York Times Magazine, May 6, 2007, 32.

Patchett, Ann. “Mind Over Matter.” Real Simple, September 2007, 83.

2 The Best Brains of Our Lives

Much of the beginning of this chapter comes from interviews with and the work of Sherry L. Willis, professor of human development at the Gerontology Center at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. Willis and her husband, K. Warner Schaie, have for many years run the Seattle Longitudinal Study, whose ongoing results are reported in dozens of scientific studies, books, and articles.

Following are the books I found particularly useful:

Willis, Sherry, and Mike Martin, eds. Middle Adulthood. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2005.

Willis, Sherry, and James D. Reid, eds. Life in the Middle. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1999.

Willis, Sherry, and Susan Whitbourne, eds. The Baby Boomers Grow Up. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2006.

The cognitive abilities quiz is from a sample test from the Adult Mental Abilities Test Word Series. (Adapted by special permission of Consulting Psychological Press, Inc., Palo Alto, California. From Schaie-Thurstone Primary Mental Abilities Test, 1985. Constructed by Judith Gonda, 1978.)

Other major studies and book segments on which parts of this chapter were based:

Schaie, K. W., S. L. Willis, and I. L. Caskie. “The Seattle Longitudinal Study, Relationship between Personality and Cognition.” Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition 11 (2004): 304.

Birren, J. E., and K. W. Shaie, eds. “Intellectual Development in Adulthood.” Handbook of the Psychology of Aging, 3rd ed. San Diego: Academic Press, 1996, 291-319.

Willis, S. L., K. W. Schaie, and A. O’Hanlon. “Perceived Intellectual Performance Change over Seven Years.” Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences 49 (1994): 108-18.

Willis, Sherry L., Sharon L. Tennstedt, Michael Marsiske, Karlene Ball, Jeffrey Elias, Kathy Mann Koepke, John N. Morris, George W. Rebok, Frederick W. Unverzagt, Anne M. Stoddard, and Elizabeth Wright (for the ACTIVE study Group). “Long-term Effects of Cognitive Training on Everyday Functional Outcomes in Older Adults.” Journal of the American Medical Association 296, no. 23 (2006): 2805-14.

Zelinski, Elizabeth, and Robert F. Kennison. “Not Your Parents’ Test Scores: Cohort Reduces Psychometric Aging Effects.” Psychology and Aging 22, no. 3 (2007): 546-57.

Krampe, Ralf, and Neil Charness. “Aging and Expertise.” Chap. 40 in The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006, 723- 42.

Charness, N., M. Tuffiash, R. Krampe, E. M. Reingold, and E. Vasyukova. “The Role of Deliberate Practice in Chess Expertise.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 19 (2005): 151-65.

Salthouse, T. A. “The Processing Speed Theory of Adult Age Difference in Cognition.” Psychology Review 103 (1996): 403-28.

Taylor, Joy L., Art Noda, and Jerome A. Yesavage. “Pilot Age and Expertise Predict Flight Simulator Performance.” Neurology 68 (February 2007): 648-54.

University of Michigan, Press Release.

3 A Brighter Place

The beginning of this chapter draws primarily on interviews with and the work of Laura Carstensen, Mara Mather, Susan Turk Charles, Joe Mikels, and John Gabrieli.

Among the principal studies I referred to:

Mather, Mara, Turhan Canli, Tammy English, Sue Whitfield, Peter Wais, Kevin Ochsner, John D. E. Gabrieli, and Laura L. Carstensen. “Amygdala Responses to Emotionally Valenced Stimuli in Older and Younger Adults.” Psychological Science 15 (2004): 259-63.

Charles, Susan Turk, Mara Mather, and Laura L. Carstensen. “Aging and Emotional Memory: The Forgettable Nature of Negative Images for Older Adults.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 132 (2003): 310-24.

Carstensen, Laura, and Joseph A. Mikels. “At the Intersection of Emotions and Cognition: Aging and the Positivity Effect.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 14, no. 3 (2005): 117-20.

Carstensen, L. L., and B. L. Fredrickson. “Influence of HIV Status and Age on Cognition Representations of Others.” Health Psychology 17 (1998): 494-503.

Charles, S. T., M. Mather, and L. L. Carstensen. “Focusing on the Positive: Age Difference in Memory for Positive and Negative and Neutral Stimuli.” Journal of Experimental Psychology 85 (2003): 163-78.

Carstensen, L. L., H. H. Fung, and S. T. Charles. “Socioemotional Selectivity Theory and Regulation of Emotion in the Second Half of Life.” Motivation and Emotion 27 (2003): 103-23.

Mather, M., and M. R. Knight. “Angry Faces Get Noticed Quickly. Aging Does Not Impair Threat Detection.” Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences 61 (2006): 54-57.

Mather, M., and L. Carstensen. “Aging and Attentional Biases for Emotional Faces.” Psychological Sciences 14 (2003): 409-15.

Mather, Mara, and Marisa Knight. “Goal Directed Memory: The Role of Cognition Control in Older Adults’ Emotional Memory.” Psychology and Aging 20, no. 4 (2005): 554-70.

Mikels, Joseph A., Gregory R. Larkin, Patricia A. Reuter-Lorenz, Laura Carstensen. “Divergent Trajectories in the Aging Mind: Changes in Working Memory for Affective Versus Visual Information.” Psychology and Aging 20, no. 4 (2005): 542-53.

Carstensen, L. L., D. M. Isaacowitz, and S. T. Charles. “Taking Time Seriously: A Theory of Socioemotional Selectivity.” American Psychologist 54 (1999): 165-81.

Charles, Susan Turk, Chandra A. Reynolds, and Margaret Gatz. “Age-Related Differences and Change in Positive and Negative Affect over 23 Years.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 80, no. 1 (2001): 136-51.

4 Experience. Judgment. Wisdom.

In addition to interviews, I referred to or used as background the following studies, articles, and books:

Hess, Thomas M., Nicole L. Osowski, and Christine M. Leclerc. “Age and Experience Influences on the Complexity of Social Inferences.” Psychology and Aging 20, no. 3 (2005): 447-59.

Hess, Thomas M. “Adaptive Aspects of Social Cognitive Functioning in Adulthood: Age-Related Goal and Knowledge Influences.” Social Cognition 24, no. 3 (2006): 279-309.

Charles, Susan Turk. “Viewing Injustice: Greater Emotion Heterogeneity with Age.” Psychology and Aging 20, no. 1 (2005): 159-64.

Goldberg, Elkhonon. The Wisdom Paradox. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2005.

Bartzokis, George, Mace Beckson, Po H. Lu, Keith H. Nuechterlein, Nancy Edwards, and Jim Mintz. “Age-Related Changes in Frontal and Temporal Lobe Volumes in Men.” Archive of General Psychiatry 58 (2001): 461-65.

Benes, F. M., M. Turtle, Y. Khan, and P. Farol. “Myelination of Key Relay Zone in the Hippocampal Formation Occurs in the Human Brain During Childhood, Adolescence, and Adulthood.” Archive of General Psychiatry 51 (1994): 477-84.

Sowell, E., P. Thompson, C. J. Holmes, R. Batth, T. Jerrigan, and A. W. Toga. “Localizing Age-Related Changes in Brain Structure between Childhood and Adolescence Using Statistical Parametric Mapping.” Neuroimage 9 (1999): 587-97.

Giedd, J., J. Blumenthal, N. O. Jeffries, F. X. Castellanos, H. Liu, P. Zijdenbos, T. Paus, A. C. Evans, J. L. Rapoport. “Brain Development during Childhood and Adolescence in a Longitudinal MRI Study.” Nature Neuroscience 2 (1999): 861-63.

Hall, Stephen S. “The Older-and-Wiser Hypothesis.” New York Times Magazine, May 6, 2007, 58.

Ardelt, M., and G. E. Vaillant. “Wisdom as a Cognitive, Reflective and Affective Three-Dimensional Personality Characteristic.” Paper presented at the Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 2007.

Raz, N., F. M. Gunning, D. Head, J. H. Dupuis, J. McQuain, S. D. Briggs, W. J. Loken, A. E. Thorton, and J. D. Acker. “Selective Aging of the Human Cerebral Cortex Observed In Vivo: Differential Vulnerability of the Prefrontal Gray Matter.” Cerebral Cortex 7 (1997): 268-82.

Reistad-Long, Sara. “Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain.” New York Times, May 20, 2008, sec. F, p. 5.

Betts, Lisa R., Christopher P. Taylor, Allison B. Sekuler, and Patrick J. Bennett. “Aging Reduces Centre-surround Antagonism in Visual Motion Processing.” Neuron 45 (2005): 361-66.

Reyna, V. F., and B. Kiernan. “The development of gist versus verbatim memory in sentence recognition.” Developmental Psychology 30 (1994): 178-91.

Koutstaal, W., and D. L. Schacter. “Gist based false recognition of pictures in older and younger adults.” Journal of Memory and Language 37 (1997): 555-83.

Reyna, V. F., and C. J. Brainerd. “What Theories of Memory Tell Us About the Brain.” Plenary address at the 112th annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Honolulu, 2004.

Some material in this chapter also came from a three-day conference called the “Summit on Cognitive Aging” in Washington, D.C., October 10-12, 2007. Organized by the National Institute on Aging, it brought together for the first time psychologists, neuroscientists, nutritionists, geneticists, and animal researchers.

5 The Middle in Motion

In addition to interviews, I relied on the following:

Wahl, Hans-Werner, and Andreas Kruse. “Historical Perspectives of Middle Age Within the Life Span.” Chap. 1 in Middle Adulthood, edited by Sherry Willis and Mike Martin. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2005.

Moen, Phyllis, and Elaine Wethington. “Midlife Development in a Life Course Context.” Chap. 1 in Life in the Middle, edited by Sherry Willis and James D. Reid. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1999.

“The MIDUS National Survey: An Overview.” In How Healthy Are We?: A National Study of Well-Being at Midlife, O. G., Brim, C. D. Ryff, and R. C. Kessler., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Helson, Ravenna, and Christopher J. Soto. “Up and Down in Middle Age: Monotonic and Nonmonotonic Changes in Roles, Status, and Personality.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 89, no. 2 (2005): 194-204.

Helson, R., C. Jones, and V.S.Y. Kwan. “Personality Change Over 40 Years of Adulthood.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83 (2002): 752-66.

Wink, Paul, and Ravenna Helson. “Practical and Transcendent Wisdom: Their Nature and Some Longitudinal Findings.” Journal of Adult Development 4, no. 1 (1997).

Mroczek, Daniel K., and Avron Spiro III. “Change in Life Satisfaction during Adulthood: Findings from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 88, no. 1 (2005): 189-202.

Levinson, Daniel J., Charlotte N. Darrow, Edward B. Klein, Maria H. Levinson, and Braxton McKee. The Seasons of a Man’s Life. New York: Ballantine Books, 1978.

Fingerman, Karen L., Pei-Chun Chen, Elizabeth Hay, Kelly E. Cichy, and Eva S. Lefkowitz. “Ambivalent Relations in the Parent and Offspring Relationship.” Journal of Gerontology 61B, no. 3 (2006): 152-60.

Fingerman, Karen L. “ ‘We Had a Nice Little Chat’: Age and Generational Differences in Mothers’ and Daughters’ Descriptions of Enjoyable Visits.” Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences 55B (2000): 5-106.

Mroczek, Daniel K., and Christian M. Kolarz. “The Effect of Age on Positive and Negative Affect: A Developmental Perspective on Happiness.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 75, no. 5 (1998): 1333-49.

Deykin, Eva Y., Shirley Jacobson, Gerald Klerman, and Maida Solomon. “The Empty Nest: Psychological Aspects of Conflict between Depressed Women and Their Grown Children.” American Journal of Psychiatry (1966): 1422-26.

“The ‘New’ Pat Nixon.” Ladies’ Home Journal, February 1962, 124-25.

Bedford, V. H. “Sibling Relationships in Middle Adulthood and Old Age.” In Handbook on Aging and the Family, edited by R. Blieszner and V. H. Bedford, 201-22. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1995.

Bedford, V. H. “Sibling Relationship Troubles and Well-Being in Middle and Old Age,” Family Relations 47 (1998): 369-76.

Bedford, V. H. “Ambivalence in Adult Sibling Relationships,” Journal of Family Issues 10, no. 2 (1989): 221-24.

Goode, Erica. “New Study Finds Middle Age Is Prime of Life.” New York Times, February 16, 1999, sec. F, 6.

Clay, Rebecca A. “Researchers Replace Midlife Myths with Facts.” APA 324, April 2003.

Gallagher, Winifred. “Midlife Myths.” Atlantic Monthly, May 1993, 51-68. Rasky, Susan F. “Corporate Psychologist: Elliott Jaques, His ideas on Work Take Hold.” New York Times, February 17, 1985, sec. 3, p. 8.

Lavietes, Stuart. “Elliott Jaques, 86, Scientist Who Coined ‘Midlife Crisis.’ ” New York Times, March 17, 2003, sec. B, obituary, 7.

Updike, John. Rabbit Redux. New York: Ballantine Books, 1971.

Sheehy, Gail. Passages. New York: Bantam Books, 1974.

Chew, Peter. The Inner World of the Middle-Aged Man. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co, Inc., 1976.

6 What Changes with Time

This chapter was based on extensive interviews with dozens of scientists investigating the aging brain, as well as findings from a number of groundbreaking studies. The main studies and articles I used:

Burke, Deborah M., Donald G. Mackay, Joanna S. Worthley, and Elizabeth Wade. “On the Tip of the Tongue: What Causes Word Finding Failures in Young and Older Adults.” Journal of Memory and Language30 (1991): 542-79.

James, Lori E., and Deborah M. Burke. “Phonological Priming Effects on Word Retrieval and Tip-of-the-Tongue Experience in Young and Older Adults.” Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory and Cognition 26 (2001): 1378-91.

Burke, Deborah M., Jill Kester Locantore, Ayda A. Austin, and Bryan Chae. “Cherry Pit Primes Brad Pitt, Homophone Priming Effects on Young and Older Adults’ Production of Proper names.” Psychological Science 15, no. 3 (2004): 164-70.

Burke, Deborah M., and Meredith A. Shafto. “Language and Aging.” Chapter to appear in The Handbook of Aging and Cognition, edited by F. I.M. Craik and T. Salthouse. London: Taylor and Francis, forthcoming.

Warner, Judith. “A Hole in the Head.” New York Times, November 25, 2007.

Gazzaley, Adam, Jeffrey W. Cooney, Jesse Rissman, and Mark D. Esposito. “Top-Down Suppression Deficit Underlies Working Memory Impairment in Normal Aging.” Nature Neuroscience 8, no. 10 (2005): 1298-1300.

Gazzaley, Adam, and Mark D’Esposito. “Top-Down Modulation and Normal Aging.” Annals of New York Academy of Sciences 1097 (2007): 67-83.

Grady, Cheryl L., Mellanie V. Springer, Donaya Hongwanishkul, Anthony R. McIntosh, and Gordon Winocur. “Age-related Changes in Brain Activity Across the Adult Lifespan.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 18 (2006): 227- 41.

Moore, Tara L., Ronald J. Killiany, James G. Herndon, Douglas L. Rosene, and Mark B. Moss. “Executive System Dysfunction Occurs as Early as Middle-Age in the Rhesus Monkey.” Neurobiology of Aging 27 (2006): 1484-93.

Moore, Tara L., Ronald J. Killiany, James G. Herndon, Douglas L. Rosene, and Mark B. Moss. “Impairment in Abstraction and Set-Shifting in Aged Rhesus Monkey.” Neurobiology of Aging 24, no. 1 (January-February 2003): 125-34.

Sowell, Elizabeth R., Bradley S. Peterson, Paul M. Thompson, Suzanne E. Welcome, Amy L. Henkenius, and Arthur W. Toga. “Mapping Cortical Change across the Human Life Span.” Nature Neuroscience 6, no. 3 (March 2003): 309-15.

Begley, Sharon. “The Upside of Aging.” Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2007.

Hedden, Trey, and John D. E. Gabrieli. “Insights into the Aging Mind: A View from Cognitive Neuroscience.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5 (2004): 87-96.

Raz, Naftali, and Karen M. Rodrigue. “Differential Aging of the Brain: Patterns, Cognitive Correlates and Modifiers.” Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 30 (2006): 730-48.

Raz, N., U. Lindenberger, K. M. Rodrigue, K. M. Kennedy, D. Head. A. Williamson, C. Dahle, D. Gerstorf , and J. D. Acker. “Regional Brain Changes in Aging, Healthy Adults: General Trends, Individual Differences and Modifiers.” Cerebral Cortex 15 (2005): 1676-89.

Craik, F.I.M., and T. A. Salthouse, eds. “Aging of the Brain and Its Impact on Cognitive Performance: Integration of Structural and Functional Findings.” In Handbook of Aging and Cognition II, 1-90. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2000.

Kim, Sunghan, Lynn Hasher, and Rose T. Zacks. “Aging and a Benefit of Distractibility.” Psychological Bulletin Review 2 (April 14, 2007): 301-305. Healey, M. Karl, Karen L. Campbell, and Lynn Hasher. “Cognitive Aging and Increased Distractibility: Costs and Potential Benefits.” Progress in Brain Research 169 (2008): 353-63.

Some material in this chapter also came from the “Summit on Cognitive Aging” in Washington, D.C., October 10-12, 2007.

7 Two Brains Are Better Than One

Cabeza, Roberto, Cheryl L. Grady, Lars Nyberg, Anthony R. McIntosh, Endel Tulving, Shitj Kapur, Janine M. Jennings, Sylvian Houle, and Fergus I. M. Craik. “Age-Related Differences in Neural Activity During Memory Encoding and Retrieval: A Positron Emission Tomography Study.” Journal of Neuroscience 17, no. 10 (January 1, 1997): 391-400.

Cabeza, Roberto, Nicole D. Anderson, Jill K. Locantore, and Anthony R. McIntosh. “Aging Gracefully: Compensatory Brain Activity in High-Performing Older Adults.” NeuroImage 17 (2002): 1394-1402.

Cabeza, Roberto. “Hemispheric Asymmetry Reduction in Older Adults: The HAROLD Model.” Psychology and Aging 17, no. 1 (2002): 85-100.

Cabeza, Roberto, Sander M. Daselaar, Florin Dolcos, Steven E. Prince, Matthew Budde, and Lars Nyberg. “ Task-Independent and Task-Specific Age Effects on Brain Activity During Working Memory, Visual Attention and Episodic Retrieval.” Cerebral Cortex 14, no. 4 (2004): 364-375.

Reuter-Lorenz, Patricia A., and Cindy Lustig. “Brain Aging: Reorganizing Discoveries About the Aging Mind.” Current Opinion in Neurobiology 15 (2005): 245-51.

Cohen, Gene. “The Myth of the Midlife Crisis.” Newsweek, January 16, 2006.

Park, D. C., T. A. Polk, R. Park, M. Menear, A. Savage, and M. R. Smith. “Aging Reduces Neural Specialization in Ventral Visual Cortex.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 101(35) 13091-13095, 2004.

Park, Denise, and Patricia Reuter-Lorenz. “The Adaptive Brain: Aging and Neurocognitive Scaffolding.” Annual Reviews Psychology 60, no. 21.1 (2009): 21-24.

Cohen, Gene D. The Mature Mind. New York: Basic Books, 2005.

Park, D. C., R. C. Welsh, C. Marshuetz, A. H. Gutchess, J. Mikels, and T. A. Polk. “Working Memory for Complex Scenes: Age Differences in Frontal and Hippocampal Activations.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 15, no. 8 (2003): 1122-34.

Reuter-Lorenz, P. A., and K. Cappell. “Neurocognitive Aging and the Compensation Hypothesis.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 18, no. 3 (2008): 177-81.

Reuter-Lorenz, P. A., J. Jonides, E. E. Smith, A. Hartley, A. Miller, and C. Marshuetz. “Age Differences in the Frontal Lateralization of Verbal and Spatial Working Memory Revealed by PET.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12, no. 1 (2000): 174-87.

Lu, Tao, Ying Pan, Shyan-Yuan Kao, Cheng Li, Isaac Kohane, Jennifer Chan, and Bruce A. Yankner. “Gene Regulation and DNA Damage in the Aging Human Brain.” Nature 429 (June 24, 2000): 883-91.

Yankner, Bruce. “The Aging Brain: Gene Expression in Middle Age May Hold Clues to Cognitive Decline.” On the Brain: The Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute Letter 12, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 2-3.

Some material in this chapter also came from the “Summit on Cognitive Aging” in Washington, D.C., October 10-12, 2007.

8 Extra Brainpower

Snowdon, David. Aging with Grace. New York: Bantam, 2001.

Mortimer, J. A. “Brain Reserve and the Clinical Expression of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Geriatrics 52 (1993): 50-53.

Snowdon, David A. “Healthy Aging and Dementia: Findings from the Nun Study.” Annals of Internal Medicine 139, no. 5 (December 2, 2003): 450-54.

Snowdon, D. A., L. H. Greiner, and W. R. Markesbery. “Linguistic Ability in Early Life and the Neuropathology of Alzheimer’s Disease and Cerebrovascular Disease.” Findings from the Nun Study, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 903 (2000): 34-38.

Melton, Lisa. “Use it, Don’t Lose it.” New Scientist, December 17, 2005, 32-35.

Katzman, Robert, Robert Terry, Richard DeTeresa, Theodore Brown, Peter Davies, Paula Fuld, Xiong Renbing, and Arthur Peck. “Clinical, Pathological and Neurochemical Changes in Dementia: A Subgroup with Preserved Mental Status and Numerous Neocortical Plaques.” Annals of Neurology 23 (1988): 138-34.

Katzman, R., M. Aronson, P. Fuld, et al. “Development of Dementing Illnesses in an 80-year-old Volunteer Cohort.” Annals of Neurology 25 (1989): 317-24.

Katzman, R. “Education and the Prevalence of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.” Neurology 43 (1993): 13-20.

Hill, L. R., M. R. Klauber, D. P. Salmon, E.S.H. Yu, W. T. Liu, M. Zhang, and R. Katzman. “Functional Status, Education and the Diagnosis of Dementia in The Shanghai Survey.” Neurology 43 (1993): 138- 45.

Zhang, Mingyaun, Robert Katzman, David Salmon, Hua Jin, Guojun Cai, Zhengyu Wang, Guangya Qu. “The Prevalence of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in Shanghai, China: Impact of Age, Gender and Education.” Annals of Neurology 27, no. 4 (1990): 428-37.

Kolata, Gina. “A Surprising Secret to a Long Life: Stay in School.” New York Times, January 3, 2007.

Stern, Yaakov, Barry Gurland, Thomas Tatemichi, Ming Xin Tang, David Wilder, and Richard Mayeux. “Influence of Education and Occupation on the Incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Journal of the American Medical Association 271, no. 13 (April 6, 1994): 1004, 1010.

Scarmeas, N., S. M. Albert, J. J. Manley, and Y. Stern. “Education and Rates of Cognitive Decline in Incident Alzheimer’s Disease.” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 77 (2005): 308-16.

Stern, Y., G. E. Alexander, I. Prohovnik, and R. Mayeux. “Inverse Relationship between Education and Parietotemporal Perfusion Deficit in Alzheimer’s Disease. Annals of Neurology 32 (1992): 371-75.

Alexander, G. E., M. L. Furey, C. L. Grady, et al. “Association of Premorbid Function with Cerebral Metabolism in Alzheimer’s Disease: Implications for the Reserve Hypotheses.” American Journal of Psychiatry 154 (1997): 165-72.

Stern, Y., G. E. Alexander, I. Prohovnik, et al. “Relationship between Lifetime Occupation and Parietal Flow: Implications for a Reserve Against Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology.” Neurology 45 (1995): 55-60.

Stern, Yaakov, Nikolaos Scarmeas, and Chistian Habeck. “Imaging Cognitive Reserve.” International Journal of Psychology 39, no. 1 (2004): 18-36.

Scarmeas, Nikolaos, Eric Zarahn, Karen Anderson, Lawrence S. Honig, Aileen Park, John Hilton, Joseph Flynn, Harold A. Sackeim, and Yaakov Stern. “Cognitive Reserve—Mediated Modulation of Positron Emission Tomographic Activations during Memory Tasks in Alzheimer Disease.” Archives of Neurology 61 (January 2004): 73-78.

Scarmeas, Nikolaos, Eric Zarahn, Karen Anderson, Chistian G. Habeck, John Hilton, Joseph Flynn, Karen S. Marder, et al. “Association of Life Activities with Cerebral Blood Flow in Alzheimer’s Disease.” Archives of Neurology 60 (March 2003): 365-69.

Scarmeas, N., G. Levy, M. X. Tang, J. Manly, and Y. Stern. “Incidence of Leisure Activity on the Incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Neurology, December 2001.

Scarmeas, Nikolaos, and Yaakov Stern. “Cognitive Reserve and Lifestyle.” Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 25, no. 5 (2003): 625-33.

Stern, Yaakov, ed. Cognitive Reserve. New York: Taylor and Francis, 2007.

Wilson, Robert S., Carlos F. Mendes de Leon, Lisa L. Barnes, Julie A. Schneider, Julia L. Bienias, Denis A. Evans, and David A. Bennett. “Participation in Cognitively Stimulating Activities and the Risk of Incident Alzheimer’s Disease.” Journal of the American Medical Association 287, no. 6 (February 13, 2002): 742- 48.

Wilson, R. S., Y. Li, N. T. Aggarwal, L. L. Barnes, J. J. McCann, D. W. Gilley, et al. “Education and the Course of Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease.” Neurology 63 (2004): 1198-1202.

Bleeker, M. L., D. P. Ford, C. G. Vaughan, and K. N. Lindgren. “Impact of Cognitive Reserve on the Relationship of Lead Exposure and Neurobehavioral Performance.” Neurology 69 (2007): 470-76.

Kesler, Shelli R., Heather F. Adams, Christine M. Blasey, and Erin D. Bigler. “Premorbid Intellection Functioning, Education and Brain Size in Traumatic Brain Injury: An Investigation of the Cognitive Reserve Hypothesis.” Applied Neuropsychology 10, no. 3 (2003): 153-62.

9 Keep Moving and Keep Your Wits

Pereira, Ana C., Dan E. Huddleston, Adam M. Brickman, Alexander A. Sosunov, Rene Hen, Guy M. McKhann, Richard Sloan, Fred H. Gage, Truman R. Brown, and Scott A. Small. “An In Vivo Correlate of Exercise-Induced Neurogenesis in the Adult Dentate Gyrus.” PNAS 104, no. 13 (March 27, 2007): 5638-43.

Small, Scott A., Monica K. Chawla, Michael Buonocore, Peter R. Rapp, and Carol A. Barnes. “Imaging Correlates of Brain Function in Monkeys and Rats Isolates a Hippocampal Subregion Differentially Vulnerable to Aging.” PNAS 101, no. 18 (May 4, 2004): 7181-86.

Small, Scott A., Wei Yann Tsai, Robert DeLaPaz, Richard Mayeux, and Yaakov Stern. “Imaging Hippocampal Function Across the Human Life Span: Is Memory Decline Normal or Not?” Annals of Neurology 51 (2002): 290-95.

Sloan, Richard P., Peter A. Shapiro, Ronald E. DeMeersman, Paula S. McKinley, Keven J. Tracey, Iordan Slavov, Yixin Fank, and Pamela D. Flood. “Aerobic Exercise Attenuates Inducible TNF Production in Humans.” Journal of Applied Physiology 103 (2007): 1007-11.

Gage, Fred H. “Brain, Repair Yourself.” Scientifi c American, September 2003, 47-53.

Begley, Sharon. Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain. New York: Ballantine Books, 2007.

Reynolds, Gretchen. “Lobes of Steel.” New York Times, Play magazine, August 19, 2007.

Vastag, Brian. “Brain Gain.” Science News 171 (June 16, 2007): 376-80.

van Praag, Henriette, Brian R. Christie, Terrence J. Sejnowski, and Fred H. Gage. “Running Enhances Neurogenesis, Learning and Long-Term Potentiation in Mice.” PNAS 96, no. 23 (November 9, 1999): 13427-31.

Eriksson, Peter S., Ekaterina Perfilieva, Thomas Bjork-Eriksson, Ann-Marie Alborn, Claes Nordborg, Daniel A. Peterson, and Fred H. Gage. “Neurogenesis in the Adult Human Hippocampus.” Nature Medicine 4 (1998): 1313-17.

van Praag, H., G. Kempermann, F. H. Gage. “Running Increases Cell Proliferation and Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse Dentate Gyrus.” Nature Neuroscience 2, no. 3 (March 1999): 266-70.

van Praag, Henriette, Tiffany Shubert, Chunmei Zhao, and Fred H. Gage. “Exercise Enhances Learning and Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Aged Mice.” Journal of Neuroscience 25, no. 38 (September 21, 2005): 8680-85.

Gould, Elizabeth, Anna Beylin, Patima Tanapat, Alison Reeves, and Tracey J. Shors. “Learning Enhances Adult Neurogenesis in the Hippocampal Formation.” Nature Neuroscience 2 (1999): 260-65.

Carmichael, Mary. “Stronger, Faster, Smarter.” Newsweek, March 26, 2007.

Colcombe, Stanley J., Kirk I. Erickson, Paige E. Scalf, Jenny S. Kim, Ruchika Prakash, Edward McAuley, Steriani Elavsky, David X. Marquez, Liang Hu, and Arthur K. Kramer. “Aerobic Exercise Training Increases Brain Volume in Aging Humans.” Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 61 (2006): 1166-70.

Colcombe, Stanley J., Kirk I. Erickson, Naftali Raz, Andrew G. Webb, Neal J. Cohen, Edward McAuley, and Arthur F. Kramer. “Aerobic Fitness Reduces Brain Tissue Loss in Aging Humans.” Journals of Gerontology 58 (2003): M176-80.

Kramer, A. F., S. Hahn, N. J. Cohen, M. R. Banich, E. McAuley, C. R. Harrison, et al. “Aging, Fitness and Neurocognitive Function.” Nature 400 (1999): 418-19.

Churchill, James D., Roberto Galvez, Stanley Colcombe, Rodney A. Swain, Arthur F. Kramer, and William T. Greenough. “Exercise, Experience and the Aging Brain.” Neurobiology of Aging 23 (2002): 941-55.

“OHSU Researchers Study Physical and Mental Impacts of Exercise on the Brain.” Findings presented at the November 6, 2003, annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans.

Gage, Fred, and Janet Wiles. “Newborn Brain Cells ‘Time-Stamp’ Memories.” Neuron, January 29, 2009, 187-202.

10 Food for Thought

Pollack, Andrew. “Glaxo Says Wine May Fight Aging.” New York Times, April 23, 2008, sec. C, 11.

Wade, Nicholas. “New Hints Seen That Red Wine May Slow Aging.” New York Times, June 4, 2008, sec. A, 1.

Bhagavad Gita. Translated by Stephen Mitchell. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000.

Fontana, Luigi, and Samuel Klein Samuel. “Aging, Adiposity and Calorie Restriction.” Journal of the American Medical Association 297 (2007): 986-94.

Kolata, Gina. “Low-Fat Diet Does Not Cut Health Risks.” New York Times, February 8, 2006, sec. A, 1.

Kolata, Gina. “Maybe You’re Not What You Eat.” New York Times, February 14, 2006, sec. F, 1.

Taubes, Gary. “Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy?“ New York Times Magazine, September 16, 2007, 52.

Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food. New York: Penguin Press, 2008.

Pollan, Michael. “Unhappy Meals.” New York Times Magazine, January 28, 2007, 38.

Milgram, N. W., E. Head, S. C. Zicker, C. J. Ikeda-Douglas, H. Murphey, B. Muggenburg, C. Siwak, D. Tapp, and C. W. Cotman. “Learning Ability in Aged Beagle Dogs is Preserved by Behavioral Enrichment and Dietary Fortification: A Two-Year Longitudinal Study.” Neurobiology of Aging 26 (2005): 77-90.

Bakalar, Nicholas. “It Can Be Done: Scientists Teach Old Dogs New Tricks.” New York Times, January 25, 2005, sec. F (Science), 1.

Morrison, John H., Roberta D. Brinton, Peter J. Schmidt, and Andrea C. Gore. “Estrogen, Menopause, and the Aging Brain: How Basic Neuroscience Can Inform Hormone Therapy in Women.” Journal of Neuroscience 26, no. 41 (October 11, 200): 10332-48.

Porter, Peggy. “Westernizing Women’s Risks? Breast Cancer in Lower-Income Countries.” New England Journal of Medicine, Perspective 358 (January 17, 2008): 3.

Bakalar, Nicholas. “Study Critiques Antioxidant Supplements.” New York Times, April 29, 2008, sec. F.

Wade, Nicholas. “Pill to Extend Life? Don’t Dismiss the Notion Too Quickly.” New York Times, September 22, 2000, sec. A, 20.

Cartford, M. Claire, Carmelina Gemma, and Paula C. Bickford. “Eighteen-Month-Old Fischer 344 Rats Fed a Spinach-Enriched Diet Show Improved Delay Classical Eyeblink Conditioning and Reduced Expression of Tumor Necrosis Factor in the Cerebellum.” Journal of Neuroscience 14 (July 15, 2002): 5813-16.

Gemma, Carmelina, Michael H. Mesches, Boris Sepesi, Kevin Choo, Douglas B. Holmes, and Paula C. Bickford. “Diets Enriched in Food with High Antioxidant Activity Reverse Age-Induced Decreases in Cerebellar Adrenergic Function and Increases in Proinflammatory Cytokines.” Journal of Neuroscience 14 (July 15, 2002): 6114-20.

Stromberg, I., C. Gemma, J. Vila, and P. C. Bickford. “Blueberry and Spirulina-Enriched Diets Enhance Striatal Dopamine Recovery and Induce a Rapid, Transient Microglia Activation after Injury of the Rat Nigrostriatal Dopamine System.” Experimental Neurology 196 (2005): 298-307.

Joseph, J. A., B. Hale-Shukitt, N. A. Denisova, D. Bielinski, A. Martin, J. J. McEwen, and P. C. Bickford. “Reversals of Age-Related Declines in Neuronal Signal Transduction Cognitive and Motor Behavioral Deficits with Blueberry, Spinach or Strawberry Dietary Supplements.” Journal of Neuroscience 19 (1999): 8144-21.

Joseph, J. A., B. Hale-Shukitt, N. A. Denisova, R. L. Prior, G. Cao, A. Martin, G. Taglialatela, and P. C. Bickford. “Long-Term Dietary Strawberry, Spinach or Vitamin E Supplementation Retards the Onset of Age-Related Neuronal Signal-Transduction and Cognitive Behavioral Deficits.” Journal of Neuroscience 18 (1998): 8047-55.

Joseph, J. A., G. Arendash, M. Gordon, D. Diamond, B. Hale Shukitt, and D. Morgan. “Blueberry Supplementation Enhances Signaling and Prevents Behavioral Deficits in an Alzheimer Disease Model.” Nutrition Neuroscience 6 (2003): 153-62.

“Smart Drugs.” Medicine. The Economist, May 24, 2008.

“All On the Mind.” Science and Technology. The Economist, May 24, 2008.

Sahakian, Barbara, and Sharon Morein-Zamir. “Professor’s Little Helper.” Nature 450 (December 20, 2007): 1157-59.

Maher, Brendan. “Poll Results: Look Who’s Doping.” Nature 452, no. 10 (April 2008).

“Brain Boosting Drugs Hit the Faculty Lounge.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 20, 2007.

Carey, Benedict. “Smartening Up: Brain Enhancement is Wrong, Right?” New York Times, March 9, 2008, Week in Review.

Maswood, Navin, Jennifer Young, Edward Tilmont, Zhiming Zhang, Don M. Gash, Greg. A. Gerhardt, Richard Grondin, et al. “Caloric Restriction Increases Neurotrophic Factor Levels and Attenuates Neurochemical and Behavioral Deficits in a Primate Model of Parkinson’s Disease.” PNAS 101, no. 42 (2004): 18171-76.

McGlothin, Paul, and Meredith Averill. The CR Way. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2007.

Fontana, Luigi, and Samuel Klein. “Aging, Adiposity, and Calorie Restriction.” Journal of the American Medical Association 297, no. 9 (March 7, 2007): 986-94.

Scarmeas, Nikolaos, Yaakov Stern, Richard Mayeux, Jennifer J. Manly, Nicole Schupf, and Jose A. Luchsinger. “Mediterranean Diet and Mild Cognitive Impairment.” Archives of Neurology 66, no. 2 (February 2009): 216-25.

Nagourney, Eric. “Tie between Obesity and Dementia Is Discovered.” New York Times, November 1, 2005, sec. F, 6.

Grady, Denise. “Link Between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Deepens.” New York Times, July 17, 2006, sec. A, 15.

Caryn Rabin, Roni. “Blood Sugar Control Linked to Memory Decline, Study Says.” New York Times, January 1, 2009.

Pearson, Kevin J., Joseph A. Baur, Kaitlyn N. Lewis, Leonid Peshkin, et al. “Resveratrol Found to Improve Health, but Not Longevity, in Aging Mice on Standard Diet.” Cell Metabolism, July 3, 2008.

11 The Brain Gym

Liu, Linda, and Denise Park. “Imagination Helps Older People Remember to Comply with Medical Advice.” National Institutes of Health News, June 4, 2004.

Park, Denise C., Angela H. Gutchess, Michelle L. Meade, and Elizabeth A. L. Stine-Morrow. “Improving Cognitive Function in Older Adults: Nontraditional Approaches.” Journal of Gerontology, Series B, 62B (special issue) (2007): 45-52.

Liu, L. L., and D. C. Park. “Aging and Medical Adherence.” Psychology and Aging 19 ( 2004): 318-25.

“New Research on Aging and Cognitive Training Presented at The Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Meeting.” The Gerontological Society of America, November 19, 2007. IMPACT study by Elizabeth Zelinski.

Mahncke, Henry W., Bonnie B. Connor, Jed Appelman, Omar N. Ahsannuddin, Joseph L. Hardy, Richard A. Wood, Nicholas M. Joyce, Tania Boniske, Sharona M. Atkins, and Michael M. Merzenich. “Memory Enhancement in Healthy Older Adults Using a Brain Plasticity-Based Training Program: A Randomized, Controlled Study.” PNAS, August 3, 2006, 12523-28.

Merzenich, Michael M. “Building Better Brains from Lab to Laptop.” Aging Today XXVII, no. 1 (January-February 2006): 1043-1284.

George, Lianne. “The Secret to Not Losing Your Marbles.” MacLeans, April 9, 2007.

Trafford, Abigail. “In the Key of What-Next.” My Time, Washington Post, May 11, 2004, Health.

Fried, Linda P., Michelle C. Carlson, Marc Freedman, Kevin D. Frick, Thomas A. Glass, Joel Hill, Sylvia McGill, et al. “A Social Model for Health Promotion for an Aging Population: Initial Evidence on the Experience Corps Model.” Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 81, no. 1, March 2004, 64-68.

Kolata, Gina. “Old but Not Frail: A Matter of Heart and Head.” New York Times, October 5, 2006, sec. A, 1.

Levy, Becca. “Negative Stereotypes About Aging May Shorten Life.” Personality and Social Psychology, August 2002. http://www/

Hess, Thomas M., Corinne Auman, Stanley J. Colcombe, and Tamara A. Rahhal. “The Impact of Stereotype Threat on Age Differences in Memory Performance.” Journal of Gerontology, Psychological Sciences58B, no. 1 (2003): 3-11.

“The Joy of Giving.” The Economist, October 14, 2006, Science and Technology, 86. PNAS, October 12, 2006.

Schnall, Simone, et al. “Making It Less of an Up Hill Struggle.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, June 14, 2008.

Reuter-Lorenz, P. A. “New Visions of the Aging Mind and Brain.” Trends in Cogntive Sciences 6 (2002): 394-400.

Reuter-Lorenz, P. A., and C. Lustig. “Brain Aging: Reorganizing Discoveries About the Aging Mind.” Current Opinion in Neurobiology 15 (2005): 245-51.

Salthouse, T. A. “The Processing-Speed Theory of Adult Age Differences in Cognition.” Psychological Review 103 (1996): 403-28.

Salthouse, T. A. “Mental Exercise and Mental Aging: Evaluating the Validity of the Use It or Lose It Hypothesis.” Perspectives in Psychological Science 1 (2006): 68-87.

Anderson, Nichole D., Patricia L. Ebert, Janine M. Jennings, Cheryl L. Grady, Roberto Cabeza, and Simon J. Graham. “Recollection and Familiarity-Based Memory in Healthy Aging and Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment.” Neuropsychology (accepted for publication), July 30, 2007.

Ramachandran, Vilayanur S., and Lindsay M. Oberman. “Broken Mirrors.” Scientifi c American, November 2006, 63-70.

Blakeslee, Sandra. “The Cells That Read Minds.” New York Times, January 10, 2006, sec. F, 1.

Iacoboni, Marco. “Mirroring People.” New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Some material in this chapter also came from the “Summit on Cognitive Aging” in Washington, D.C., October 10-12, 2007.


Block, Sandra, and Stephanie Armour. “Many Americans Retire Years Before They Want To.” USA Today, July 10, 2006, 1.

Saletan, William. “Nerdo-Enhancement.” Slate, April 10, 2008.

Cascio, Jamais. “Getting Smarter About Getting Older.” Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, July 7, 2005.

“Global Aging.” Business Week, January 31, 2005.

Marquez, Jessica. “Novel Ideas at Borders Lure Older Workers.” Workforce Management, May 2005.

Deutsch, Claudia H. “A Longer Goodbye.” New York Times, April 21, 2008.

“Why Population Aging Matters: A Global Perspective.” National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of State (2007): Special Section, 1.

Gawande, Atul. “The Way We Age Now.” Annals of Medicine. The New Yorker, April 30, 2007.

Zelinski, Elizabeth, and Kerry P. Burnight. “Sixteen-Year Longitudinal and Time Lag Changes in Memory and Cognition in Older Adults.” Psychology and Aging 12, no. 3 (1997): 503-13.

Brooks, David. “The Great Forgetting.” New York Times, April 11, 2008, sec. A, 23.

Langa, Kenneth, et al. “Memory Loss and Other Cognitive Impairment Becoming Less Common in Older Americans.” Alzheimer’s & Dementia and University of Michigan Health System, February 18, 2008.

Albert, Marilyn, and Guy McKhann. “The Aging Brain.” Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, 2006. Pamphlet published by the Dana Alliance, Washington, D.C.

Lohr, Steve. “For a Good Retirement, Find Work, Good Luck.” New York Times, June 22, 2008, Week in Review, 3.

Trafford, Abigail. “An Extra Ten and Young Again.” My Time. Washington Post, September 18, 2007.

Shoven, John B. “New Age Thinking: Alternative Ways of Measuring Age, Their Relationship to Labor Force Participation, Government Politics and GDP.” Working paper 13476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, October 2007, 1-19.

McFadden, Robert. “All 155 Aboard Safe as Crippled Jet Crash-Lands in Hudson.” New York Times, January 16, 2009, sec. A, 1.

Wald, Matthew, and Al Baker. “Cockpit Tape Reveals Thumps, Engine Loss and a ‘Mayday,’ ” New York Times, January 19, 2009, sec. A, 21.

Collins, Gail. “The Stump Theory.” New York Times, February 12, 2009, sec. A, 35.