About this Research Topic
The worldwide increase of human life expectancy along with the concomitant rapid population aging represents phenomena that substantially impact our societies, presenting major public health challenges. In order to promote healthy aging and further increase the years of life spent without disabilities, it is necessary to delve deep in to the biology of aging and disentangle the mechanisms that underpin the physiological process from those leading to pathological manifestations.
In this context, dementia as well as the most common neurodegenerative diseases are strongly correlated with age. Although advancing age represents the major risk factor for cognitive decline, dementia is not an inevitable consequence of long life, as clearly demonstrated by centenarians who managed to preserve normal cognitive performance despite their age.
To date, studies have not adequately discriminated the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases from those typical of the aging process. Moreover, the available biomarkers of neurodegeneration tend to describe specific aspects of the overall clinical state and are only modestly associated with clinically meaningful manifestations. It is also noteworthy that the environment, which also plays a relevant role in the etio-pathogenesis of these diseases, is not adequately considered as a trigger, mediator, and/or confounder of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. Similarly, co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, or depression often confound the measurement and interpretation of biomarkers of neurodegenerative diseases.
The combination of biomarkers capable of assessing the “real” biological age of the individual may represent the best strategy to support the identification of disease-specific trajectories and, in parallel, provide insights about the aging phenomenon.
Therefore, the aim of the present Research Topic resides in the need of disentangling "physiological" from "pathological" brain aging. Authors from bio-medical and related research fields and disciplines are invited to contribute to this collection by submitting original research, review articles, opinions, and perspectives stemming from their backgrounds and specialties.
Keywords: Aging, biomarkers, dementia, neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer
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.