We joke about growing old. From the viewpoint of youth, old age holds few if any rewards - at best those of increased dignity and wisdom. But as Lawrence Whalley shows in this fascinating overview of the ageing brain, we now have cause to be optimistic about old age.
In surveying the prospects of slowing or even preventing the worst effects of brain ageing, Whalley looks at the development of the brain and how this is influenced by environmental factors such as diet and stress; the biological and psychological mechanisms of brain injury and disease, and the range of possible treatments and preventatives; individual differences in brain ageing, and the relative roles of nature and nurture in determining our mental abilities.
Lawrence Whalley is Professor of Mental Health at the University of Aberdeen. He works on the molecular biology of ageing, in particular dementia in Alzheimer's disease.