Do you know what happens to the brain as we grow?
Do you know what happens to the brain as we grow? | Credit: Nourdine Diouane

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Do you know what happens to the brain as we grow?

Jan 12, 2018

One of the biggest things that a normal human being shirks away from or does not want to discuss about is advancing age. No one likes to grow older. It might be a subconscious thing as human beings instinctively shy away from displaying any kind of weaknesses. Another fact supporting this is that as one grows older, one’s faculties also tend to become weaker.

How Do You Know?

We know about this from the classic symptoms like - forever losing your keys, forgetting what you were about to do, forgetting a name that’s on the tip of your tongue etc.

Why Does It Happen?

Our brain tends to shrink with increasing age and this results in changes at all levels. As we cross our teens, cross over to our twenties and once we reach our late twenties, our brain starts to age and starts losing its neurons. These are the cells that form the fundamental unit of our nervous system, including our brains.

?When we hit our sixties, our brains would have literally begun to shrink. Though these changes that are affecting our brains do sound a bit scary, this process is natural and it happens to everyone.

In most cases, our brain will start slowing down from a young age, usually from 24 years. In normal context, we can say that as the wheels in our head start to slow down at about age 24. That's according to a new study that says cognitive-motor skills begin to decline at a relatively early age.

What Actually Happens?

The questions that normally floods our minds are:

  • What really happens to our brain cells?
  •  Do they actually die when we grow older?

Back in the olden days, it was thought that as we go through life we lose neurons day by day, but research studies have refuted that.

The researchers have found that there seems to be a wide conservation of the brain cells when we grow older. Thus, disproving the earlier theory . The actual fact is that neurons do not die with the normal aging process. The neurons actually undergo more subtle changes. The changes in the brain do not occur to the same extent in all brain regions.

So, now we know that aging of our body is not related to our chronological aging. And it might actually be possible to slow down biological aging and even reduce the risk of suffering from diseases related to age, like dementia.

How Do We Preserve Our Brain’s Health?

Living a healthy life, both physically and mentally, has proved to be the best defense against the changes of an ageing brain. Even the healthiest among us cannot stop our brains from changing with time. That being said, certain behaviors can help your brain stay as sharp as possible:

It is clear that the brain changes with increasing chronological age, however, we are not yet clear on factors like - the rate of change, the biological age of the brain, and the processes involved. Future research in this field is the need of the hour to help us get a greater understanding of the aging brain. The research in this field is a necessity in our present society since the number of elderly people is increasing along with the potential levels of cognitive impairment.