News on Wellness

Old Age and a Shrinking Brain Could Be Reason For Lack Of Emotion

Older people tend to look and seem indifferent and that’s because they are. What is interesting to note here is that they may not even be in control of it. According to a new study conducted and published in the online issue of Neurology® the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, old people who tend to apathetic are not depressed but may have smaller brain volumes.

“Just as signs of memory loss may signal brain changes related to brain disease, apathy may indicate underlying changes,” said Lenore J. Launer, PhD, with the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. Indifference is common in old people and not necessarily accompanied by dementia. Launer went to say that the study showed that indifference to emotional needs in the groups studied could also have links to strains of brain disease.

The team used a measurement of the brains volume as a yardstick to measure the speed at which the brain aged. Brain volume losses happen when people gradually age. This study, however, concluded that the larger the amount of brain volume loss was found those people were more vulnerable to brain diseases.

Approximately 4,354 people with an average age of seventy-six, who did not have dementia, were made to undergo an MRI scan. They were even asked questions about indifference, lack of emotion and lack of indifference. The study unraveled that people with 2 or more symptoms had less than 1.4% smaller grey matter and 1.6% white matter volume as compared to those who had 2 or less symptoms.

Gray matter is the portion responsible for learning abilities and retention of information. Whereas white matter acts as a means of communication that acts as a bridge between different portions of the brain. “If these findings are confirmed, identifying people with apathy earlier may be one way to target an at-risk group,” Launer said.


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