Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brains do not shrink as we age: study

Rachael Rettner (
As we get older, our brains get smaller -- or at least that's what many scientists believe. But a new study contradicts this assumption. The conclu-sion is that when older brains are "healthy," there is little brain deterioration. Only when people experience cognitive decline do their brains show significant signs of shrinking.

The results suggest that many previous studies may have overestimated how much our brains shrink as we age. This is possibly because they failed to exclude people, who were starting to develop brain diseases such as dementia, which would lead to brain decay or atrophy.

"The main issue is that maybe healthy people do not have as much atrophy as we always thought they had," said Saartje Burgmans, the lead author of the study and a Ph.D. candidate at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. More>>

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