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'Brain Sags As You Age, Too': Experts

First Posted: Oct 26, 2016 04:47 AM EDT
The Real Brain Exhibit @Bristol Science Centre
Aside from the skin, the brain becomes slacker as people age. Such finding can possibly be used in tackling brain illnesses.







(Photo : Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Known to many, if not all, losing the skin's elasticity is one of the most obvious signs of aging. But a new study says even the brain sags with age too.

According to Science Daily, a new research investigated how the brain folds and how 'cortical folding' changes as people age. Researchers conducted the study in Newcastle University in UK and collaborated with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

The team linked the brain folding change to the tension on the cerebral cortex or the outer layer of the brain's neural tissue. They found that the tension seems to decrease as people age, and this effect was more pronounced in Alzheimer's disease sufferers. This proves that indeed, the brain sags with age. Researchers believe that this study could be helpful in the future diagnosis of brain ailments. They published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

According to Daily Mail, lead author of the study Dr. Yujiang Wang explained that grooving and folding all over the surface is among the key features of a mammalian brain. They mapped the brain folding of more than 1,000 people and found that brains fold following a universal law. However, no one has measured the folding in a consistent way. Dr. Wang is a mathematician modeling brain illness.

Dr. Wang added that in Alzheimer's disease sufferers, the effect is found at an early age. The team aims to know if the brain folding changes can be used in indicating a disease early.

As mentioned earlier, the cortex folds according to a universal law. Such law states that brains fold in the same way regardless of shape and size. But as of writing, there is no study suggesting that the same law applies within a species.

Apart from revealing that the brain sags with age too, the study gives way to more work concerning the link between Alzheimer's disease and premature aging of the cortex. The findings are indeed promising especially to those who are at risk for brain illnesses.

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