Brains shrink as we age, survey shows

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The Independent Online

A shrinking brain may be the price to be paid for being human, a study has found. Only humans have brains that get smaller with age, the research has indicated.

US researchers led by Dr Chet Sherwood, from George Washington University in Washington DC, carried out magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans of 99 chimpanzees aged 10 to 51.

The results were compared with MRI scans of 87 humans over an equivalent age range of 22 to 88.

The scans showed a decrease in the volume of all major brain structures over the course of human life. In contrast, chimpanzees showed no significant age-related changes to their brains.

"Humans may be uniquely vulnerable to age-related neurodegeneration,"the report concluded. PA