Anatomy and physiology of ageing 5: the nervous system

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This article has been double-blind peer reviewedIn this article…Age-related changes to the central and peripheral nervous systemsHow age affects the functioning of the brainCommon problems caused by nervous system changes in older peopleThe nervous system controls the activities of all body organs and tissues, receiving input from sensory organs and responding via effector organs. With around 100 billion interconnected neurons, the brain is an extremely complex, and still poorly understood, organ. However we do understand, to some degree, how age affects it, as well as the nervous system as a whole. This fifth article in our series on the anatomy and physiology of ageing describes the age-related changes occurring in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. These changes lead to a gradual decline in cognitive function and a range of other issues, such as reduced bladder control or postural hypotension, but in health the brain normally continues to function adequately throughout life.

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