The population aged 65 and older is expected to double between 2010 and 2050, making factors that affect this population of increasing importance. Of particular concern are the neurological diseases and disorders typically associated with advanced age, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, dementia, and reduced cognitive function.
The two most vulnerable periods for the brain, are early in life when the brain is developing, and later in life, when the body’s defenses and compensatory mechanisms begin to falter. There is a large and growing body of evidence indicating that these two vulnerable life stages can be linked when damage incurred during early development contributes to health disorders that may not become apparent until later in life. Declining age-related defense mechanisms may magnify vulnerability to environmental exposures, which subsequently affect the health of the aging brain.
Grossman E: Time after time: environmental influences on the aging brain. Environ. Health Perspect. 122(9): A238-243 (2014). doi: 10.1289/ehp/122-A238.

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