Research Topic

The Many Faces of Brain Aging

About this Research Topic

Brain aging is characterized by changes at all levels from molecules to morphology, reflected by reduced brain size, altered vasculature, and declines in motor and cognitive features. These changes may (e.g., the “pathological aging”) or may not (e.g., the “physiological aging”) significantly impair daily living activities. Motor and cognitive impairment constitute the most common phenotypic expressions of brain aging. Both phenomena often exist in the same disease category, thus making it difficult to detect “pure” motor or cognitive conditions. Cognitive disturbances often characterize movement disorders, and neurodegenerative dementias often exhibit the occurrence of movement disorders. Due to the mutual relationship between movement and cognition, an integrated approach should be promoted in the context of brain aging. The development of biomarkers and other indicators of aging trajectories in the next future would help in (a) disentangling the differences between what is physiological and what is pathological brain aging; and (b) revising the sharp separation between what is motoric and what is cognitive.



The goal of this Research Topic is to explore brain aging phenomena. Among neurodegenerative diseases, we will focus on the similarities and differences between what is motor and what is cognitive and the boundaries, if any, between the two conditions. Pathological, clinical, neurophysiological, neuroimaging, and molecular studies have documented a vast overlap between these conditions, showing how the aging process may be complex. In this view, the traditional sharp separation between movement disorders and dementias could become redundant. Disease-modifying studies based on precision medicine strategies tackling the biological substrates of these overlapping conditions are the natural consequences of this approach.

We aim to provide an inclusive overview of what is brain aging, which are the most valuable clinical outcome measures to assess the aging processes (ranging from “fatigue” and “frailty” to “gait/motor impairment” or “dementia”), and describe the recent advances in the research field of biomarkers in neurodegeneration.



This Research Topic aims to outline the different manifestations of brain aging, evaluate the overlap among different neurodegenerative conditions, and finally to investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms for possible future disease-modifying treatments. The detailed investigation of aging mechanisms can help with everything from clinical diagnosis, therapeutic strategies, future clinical trials, and basic and clinical research studies. Therefore, in this Research Topic, we aim to explore the aging mechanisms extensively, and we welcome the submission of Original Research, Systematic Reviews, Meta-Analyses, Narrative Reviews, Brief Research Reports, and Case Reports or Case Series on the following topics:

• Investigation of outcome measures to assess brain aging in healthy subjects as well as in frail and elderly patients;

• Examination of the association of specific age-related conditions (e.g., cancer, autoimmune, or other chronic diseases) with neurodegenerative disorders

• Technology-based objective measures employed to assess aging phenomena

• Disease mechanisms

• Neurophysiological, neuroimaging, and biomarkers studies.


Keywords: brain aging, disease mechanisms, neurodegeneration, aging phenomena, treatments


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Brain aging is characterized by changes at all levels from molecules to morphology, reflected by reduced brain size, altered vasculature, and declines in motor and cognitive features. These changes may (e.g., the “pathological aging”) or may not (e.g., the “physiological aging”) significantly impair daily living activities. Motor and cognitive impairment constitute the most common phenotypic expressions of brain aging. Both phenomena often exist in the same disease category, thus making it difficult to detect “pure” motor or cognitive conditions. Cognitive disturbances often characterize movement disorders, and neurodegenerative dementias often exhibit the occurrence of movement disorders. Due to the mutual relationship between movement and cognition, an integrated approach should be promoted in the context of brain aging. The development of biomarkers and other indicators of aging trajectories in the next future would help in (a) disentangling the differences between what is physiological and what is pathological brain aging; and (b) revising the sharp separation between what is motoric and what is cognitive.



The goal of this Research Topic is to explore brain aging phenomena. Among neurodegenerative diseases, we will focus on the similarities and differences between what is motor and what is cognitive and the boundaries, if any, between the two conditions. Pathological, clinical, neurophysiological, neuroimaging, and molecular studies have documented a vast overlap between these conditions, showing how the aging process may be complex. In this view, the traditional sharp separation between movement disorders and dementias could become redundant. Disease-modifying studies based on precision medicine strategies tackling the biological substrates of these overlapping conditions are the natural consequences of this approach.

We aim to provide an inclusive overview of what is brain aging, which are the most valuable clinical outcome measures to assess the aging processes (ranging from “fatigue” and “frailty” to “gait/motor impairment” or “dementia”), and describe the recent advances in the research field of biomarkers in neurodegeneration.



This Research Topic aims to outline the different manifestations of brain aging, evaluate the overlap among different neurodegenerative conditions, and finally to investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms for possible future disease-modifying treatments. The detailed investigation of aging mechanisms can help with everything from clinical diagnosis, therapeutic strategies, future clinical trials, and basic and clinical research studies. Therefore, in this Research Topic, we aim to explore the aging mechanisms extensively, and we welcome the submission of Original Research, Systematic Reviews, Meta-Analyses, Narrative Reviews, Brief Research Reports, and Case Reports or Case Series on the following topics:

• Investigation of outcome measures to assess brain aging in healthy subjects as well as in frail and elderly patients;

• Examination of the association of specific age-related conditions (e.g., cancer, autoimmune, or other chronic diseases) with neurodegenerative disorders

• Technology-based objective measures employed to assess aging phenomena

• Disease mechanisms

• Neurophysiological, neuroimaging, and biomarkers studies.


Keywords: brain aging, disease mechanisms, neurodegeneration, aging phenomena, treatments


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

03 September 2021 Abstract
01 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

03 September 2021 Abstract
01 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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