What is Brain shrinkage and how you can avoid it

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Nov 13, 2017
Quick Bites

  • It is normal for brain to shrink with age.
  • Conditions that affect your brain may cause brain shrinkage.
  • Lack of sleep may also lead to shrinking.
  • You can avoid it with proper care.

Your brain is one of the most crucial organs for life functions. A healthy brain helps to keep different functions of the body going and affects both physical as well as mental health. Brain shrinkage refers to a medical problem in which a small region of the brain shrinks to a size smaller than normal.

It usually occurs in conditions that directly affect the brain such as Alzheimer's disease. As the disease progresses, the nerve cells in several areas of the brain shrink and die. As nerve cells continue to die, the brain itself shrinks and the wrinkles along its surface become smoother.

What else can cause your brain to shrink?

A recent study published in the journal Neurology claims that lack of sleep may also affect the size of your brain. The study involved 147 adult volunteers who regularly underwent MRI scans to establish links between sleep and their brain volumes. The researchers were able to find out that sleep problems like insomnia can have a direct and significant impact on the brain over time.

lack of sleep

Lack of sleep for a long time may even cause the brain to shrink or shrink more rapidly as compared with those who sleep well. This effect was seen to be more significant in participants over the age of 60 years. The researchers concluded that sleep quality is associated with reduced brain volume within the right superior frontal cortex in cross-sectional analyses, and an increased rate of atrophy within widespread frontal, temporal, and parietal regions in longitudinal analyses.

How can you avoid It?

Although, it's normal for your brain to shrink with age, the smaller your brain gets the less brain power you may have.  Reduced brain volumes have been linked to impaired cognition functions. You can prevent or reduce the chances of your brain shrinking by having a diet rich in vitamin B12 which has been considered good for Alzheimer's disease and getting ample sleep daily.

omega 3 fatty acids

Besides that, reducing your stress levels and blood pressure may also help you reduce risk of brain shrinkage. Stress may lead to conditions where some cells in the brains start dying. You can also add more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet to keep your brain healthier and of normal volume, as claimed by a recent Neurology study.


Image source: Getty


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