Brain shrinking- Unique To Human Old Age

Brain Shrinking

The studies conducted by researchers have shown that the human brain undergoes considerable shrinkage during old age.  The brain of the close relatives of humans, namely chimpanzees do not show any brain shrinkage with age. Age- related problems are very less in chimpanzees. According to the brain related news  given on the proceedings of national academy of science the research team suggests that this may be due to the longer life span of the human beings compared to the chimpanzees. Having bigger brains for humans will be their adaptation to longer life span. It is believed that the longer life span is for raising human babies with larger brain.

The Problems

It has been found that the weight of the human brain decreases by 15 % of its original weight when a person reaches the age of 80. Shrinkage is more in people with age related brain problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s. The weight loss o the brain is due to the decline in the finger like structures of the nerve cells. This loss decreases the connections between the neurons as a result the ability of the brain to send signals and to process the thoughts and memories decreases considerably. This will affect the quality of life.

Most Affected Parts Of Brain

It has been identified by the scientists that some parts of the brain are more affected by shrinkage. The cerebral cortex, part o the brain responsible for thinking is more affected than cerebellum by the shrinkage.  The motor control of the body is done by the cerebellum. The grey matter of the brain experiences continuous loss with age. Neuroscientists are trying to find out the reason for brain shrinkage in humans and not in the brains of chimpanzees. You can read more brain related news from the various websites providing research news.

The Evolutionary Changes

Studies were conducted by using magnetic resonance images for comparing the brain changes in humans and chimps.  Comparison was done between 80 healthy humans of age 22- 88 and chimps which were bred in captivity. The studies do not show any shrinkage of chimps’ brain. The evolutionary changes that occurred 5- 8 million years ago has caused the separation of humans from chimps and these changes are the reasons for the differences in the brain shrinkage in humans and chimpanzees. Many find this brain related news interesting, as this will help to identify the reasons for more brain problems to humans than monkeys.

Brain shrinking- Unique To Human Old Age
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