[ExI] Brains grow and shrink like 'rainbows' as we age
pharos at gmail.com
Mon Sep 22 17:06:44 UTC 2014
Researchers have used a new magnetic resonance imaging technique to
show, for the first time, how human brain tissue changes throughout
life. They say a normal curve is shaped like a rainbow.
Nerve bundles in the brain increase in volume until we turn 40 and
then--like the rest of our body--slowly start to deteriorate. By the end
of our lives, the tissue in our brain is about the volume of a
7-year-old child. (Yikes!!).
What they found is that the normal curve for brain composition is
rainbow-shaped. It starts and ends with roughly the same amount of
white matter and peaks between ages 30 and 50. But each of the 24
regions changes a different amount. Some parts of the brain, like
those that control movement, are long, flat arcs, staying relatively
stable throughout life.
Others, like the areas involved in thinking and learning, are steep
arches, maturing dramatically and then falling off quickly.
So we need more than just keeping the body from degenerating. We need
to find a way to stop the brain tissue from shrinking with age.
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