Cerebral Atrophy:
A Symptom of Neurological Degenerative Diseases

By M. Chris Wolf, PH.D.

The Official Patient's Sourcebook on Cerebral Atrophy: A Revised and Updated Directory for the Internet Age

What is Cerebral Atrophy? When a disease affects the brain, this causes loss of tissue, which results in loss of cells. This process is called cerebral atrophy. The brain loses neurons as well as the connections between the neurons

A neuron is a cell that contains an axon, which is the extension of a nerve cell. Shaped like a piece of thread, the axon transmits impulses outward. The neuron also contains dendrites and a cell body that helps transmit nerve impulses.

The entire brain can shrink as a result of generalized atrophy or the atrophy can be focal, which means that it has targeted a specific and limited region of the brain. When focal atrophy happens, depending on what area of the brain is affected, a person can experience altered body functions. For example, if the two lobes that form the cerebrum are affected this impairs voluntary processes and conscious thought, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Various disorders and diseases can result in cerebral atrophy, including multiple sclerosis, which leads to inflammation, lesions in the cerebral tissue and myelin damage. Alzheimers disease,Huntington's disease, a traumatic brain injury or stroke or an infectious disease such as AIDs or encephalitis can also lead to loss of cerebral tissue. When there is inflammation in the brain or an infectious agent, the neurons, infiltrates the brain and their axons can be destroyed, which leads to cerebral atrophy.

The formation of the hippocampus, a part of the brain, is known to change and become terribly atrophied in individuals who have Alzheimers disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. The atrophy is sometimes asymmetrical or uneven and occurs before symptoms of Alzheimers show up. In a study, it was determined that the test subjects lost up to eight percent of their hippocampal volume during a two-year period during which time symptoms first became apparent.

Atrophy of the brain leads to a variety of symptoms. The type of symptom that is experienced depends on which part of the brain is atrophying. Loss of motor control, seizures, dementia, inability to comprehend spoken instructions or what one has read and problems with speech may occur. As the atrophy advances, the individual is increasingly unable to remember things and may no longer be capable of engaging in daily activities.

Treatment for someone suffering from cerebral tissue loss includes treating the injury or infection that led to the atrophy as well as cognitive and behavioral therapy, speech therapy, which helps control impaired speech and comprehension problems, which is called aphasia, and physical therapy, which wards off the loss of muscle control.

Better yet, prevent brain shrinkage.

Be sure to also visit:

Dementia and Alzheimers

Causes of Memory Loss

New Research on Exercise Benefits

Brain Truama

Return from Cerebral Atrophy to Causes of Memory Loss


Memory Loss Facts

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