Herbert Riffee asked, updated on June 15th, 2022; Topic:
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When your brain shrinks, there are fewer connections between neurons, and the neurotransmitter systems that communicate information from the brain to different parts of the body change, resulting in numerous complications. All of these factors play a role in the aging process and age-related cognitive decline.
It's not possible to reverse brain atrophy after it has occurred. However, preventing brain damage, especially by preventing a stroke, may reduce the amount of atrophy that you develop over time. Some researchers suggest that healthy lifestyle strategies could minimize the atrophy that's normally associated with aging.
Just, what diseases causes the brain to shrink? Diseases that cause cerebral atrophy include:
stroke and traumatic brain injury.
Alzheimer's disease, Pick's disease, and fronto-temporal dementia.
cerebral palsy, in which lesions (damaged areas) may impair motor coordination.
Huntington's disease, and other hereditary diseases that are associated with genetic mutations.
Equal, what drug can cause the brain to shrink?
Brain atrophy from cocaine dependence. K.D. Ersche and colleagues at Cambridge University report that cocaine abuse accelerates the process of normal aging, which is associated, among other things, with a gradual loss of brain volume in later years in parallel with cognitive decline.
Is brain shrinkage serious?
This loss may be the result of an injury, infection, or underlying health condition. Mild cases of brain atrophy may have little effect on daily functioning. However, brain atrophy can sometimes lead to symptoms such as seizures, aphasia, and dementia. Severe damage can be life threatening.
Brain atrophy — or cerebral atrophy — is the loss of brain cells called neurons. Atrophy also destroys the connections that help the cells communicate. It can be a result of many different diseases that damage the brain, including stroke and Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers say moderate exercise such as gardening and even dancing can help slow down brain shrinkage. In their study, the researchers said people who did a moderate or high level of exercise per week had brains that had the equivalent of 4 fewer years of brain aging.
Just as you exercise to expand your muscles, you can meditate to increase the size of your brain. A 2000 study conducted by researchers at Harvard University found that meditation increases the size of the brain regions that are associated with focused attention, deep thought and memory.
As Alzheimer's disease damage spreads through the brain, additional areas and lobes become affected. The cortex overall becomes thinner (so memories from longer ago are lost) and the brain gradually shrinks.
Pick's disease is a kind of dementia similar to Alzheimer's but far less common. It affects parts of the brain that control emotions, behavior, personality, and language. It's also a type of disorder known as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
For neurological, neuropsychological, neurophysiological, and metabolic abnormalities of cerebral function, in fact, there is evidence suggesting that antipsychotic medications decrease the abnormalities and return the brain to more normal function.
The cerebral atrophy is one of the structural damages to brain that can occur with chronic use of addictive drugs. There are innumerable causes attributed to cerebral atrophy including the intake of various drugs and alcohol.
STUART — Research has shown that commonly prescribed medications for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol cause brain shrinkage, confirmed by MRI. Studies have also shown a deterioration in IQ and overall brain function within five years for those on these Rx drugs.
As we age, our brains tend to shrink. After age 40, previous research has shown that human brain weight typically decreases by about 5 percent each decade. After age 70, brain shrinkage typically occurs at an even faster rate (Scahill et al., 2003).
Some degree of atrophy and subsequent brain shrinkage is common with old age, even in people who are cognitively healthy. However, this atrophy is accelerated in people with mild cognitive impairment and even faster in those who ultimately progress from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease.
There's growing evidence that several parts of the brain shrink in people with depression. Specifically, these areas lose gray matter volume (GMV). That's tissue with a lot of brain cells. GMV loss seems to be higher in people who have regular or ongoing depression with serious symptoms.
As some people age, the folded brain tissue starts to shrink, making the spaces between the folds (the sulci) deeper and wider. These are called involutional brain changes. In many people with dementia, the folds are greatly shrunken. The involutional changes described in your father's report are milder.
But you can stop yourself from shrinking too much by regularly exercising -- especially weight-bearing exercises like jogging or running, or other activities that work the legs and the hips. A diet rich in vitamin D and calcium also helps -- try almonds, broccoli or kale, or you can take supplements.
Brain size is determined to some extent by genetics. In studies of identical twins, who share the same genes, and fraternal twins, who share about half the same genes, there is greater correlation in brain size between the identical twins [sources: Pennington et al., Wade].
Exercise also promotes brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in many important cortical areas of the brain. Research from UCLA even demonstrated that exercise increased growth factors in the brain which makes it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections.