Why Do Our Brains Change with Age?

brains change with age

It’s no secret that human brains change with age. Getting older has an impact on every aspect of your life.

But exactly what kind of changes happen in the brain? And what is the science behind them?

The Genetic Reasons for Aging

How do we age? Scientists are still working on finding all the answers. However, recent research published by Cambridge scientists has shed new light on this question.

The researchers studied the genes of young and old mice. They observed the changes that happen in the Dbx2 gene.

When the activity in this gene increases, it affects a particular group of stem cells. These stem cells are the main reason why our brains change with age.

So the Dbx2 gene is an extremely important part of the aging process. It sends a signal to the stem cells to induce aging-related changes.

When the scientists increased the presence of this gene in young mice, they observed changes. What happened to the mice? Their brains started aging.

This discovery will make the genetic study of aging considerably easier.

How Aging Affects the Brain

Let’s look into some of the main ways that our brains change with age:

  • Decreased Brain Connectivity

The communication between brain cells decreases when you get older. However, staying engaged can help with that. Learning new things will give your brain connectivity a boost.

  • Blood Flow to the Brain Decreases

Aging affects your cardiovascular system. Hence, your brain may start receiving less oxygen-rich blood over time. Certain chronic conditions increase your risk of this as well.

  • Parts of the Brain Start to Shrink

As you age, your brain starts decreasing in size. In particular, the parts that are responsible for learning maybe become smaller. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop trying to learn new things.

  • Inflammation Is a Concern

Your brain may become more vulnerable to inflammation. This causes some damage to your brain cells.