Mitochondrial Functioning and the Relations among Health, Cognition, and Aging: Where Cell Biology Meets Cognitive Science

The Scientific Committee of the World Mitochondria Society would like to share this article by David C. Geary, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri on Mitochondria, general intelligence, health and aging.

health aging mydoc


The Scope is: Performance in one cognitive domain, such as attentional control, is positively correlated with performance in all other cognitive domains, such as reading comprehension, and performance in all of these domains is correlated with current and predictive of later health outcomes. These relations suggest a common biological mechanism that contributes to cognition and health; moreover, this mechanism has been linked to systematic and parallel declines in cognition and health with normal aging. Mitochondrial functioning, including contributions to cellular energy production, control of oxidative stress, immunity, and intracellular signaling (among others), is well situated to explain at least some of these links.

The Conclusion is: There is now consistent evidence that various mitochondrial functions, including energy production, control of oxidative stress, and intracellular signalling, among others, contribute to the well-documented relations between cognition, health, and aging. These relations provide a natural link between research in cell biology and cognitive science. Advances in the latter are potentially useful for the development of measures that will be the most sensitive to age- or disease-related disruptions of mitochondrial functions or therapeutic enhancement of these functions and their potential influence on cognition.



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