As we grow older, we gain knowledge and experience greater emotional balance, but we also experience memory loss and difficulties in learning new associations. Which cognitive abilities decline, remain stable or improve with age depends on the health of the brain and body as well as on what skills are practiced or challenged in everyday life. Recent research provides a growing understanding of the relationship between physical and cognitive changes across the life span and reveals ways to increase mental sharpness and avoid cognitive decline. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website