Normal aging and Alzheimer's disease : hippocampal and episodic memory differences
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Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and normal aging (NA) are characterized by structural brain changes as well as cognitive changes that appear over the lifespan. The hippocampus is an area susceptible to early atrophy in both AD and NA; however the differential causes of atrophy are not entirely clear. Hippocampal volume loss in AD is attributed to neuronal death due to underlying pathology. AD often is diagnosed years after the onset of pathology and subsequent atrophy. NA is a continuation of cognitive decline that does not become dementia. Episodic memory (EM) is processed within the hippocampus and is one of the first systems to show deficits in conjunction with both patterns of aging. This review focuses on hippocampal volume loss and EM decline in NA and AD.