By Attorney David Engler
The terrible irony of getting older is that the physical size of our head gets bigger as the size of our brain decreases. I have seen pictures taken 20 years ago and I can hardly recognize myself. The hair has fallen out, grayed and my eyelids droop. I have not invested in plastic surgery but will do so as soon as it is offered inside a Wal-Mart store, like it’s eyeglass center or banking services.
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that human brains are unique in that they can shrink up to 15% in a lifetime. Before this study it was assumed that all primate brains had shrinkage. Turns out it is only us.
By 2030 about 1 in every 5 people in the United States will be over the age of 65. This is twice the number of elderly than just a decade ago according to the U.S. Administration on Aging.
The brain shrinking conditions that affect the elderly can be depression and Alzheimer’s disease. These diseases of course can be a by-product of the shrinking brain. In a terrible commentary on most of us over 50; poor memory may stem from a fractional shrinkage in the hippocampus. This is when you forget a friend’s name or forget an appointment. My brother believes he has CRS. When I asked him what that diagnosis was he said, “Can’t Remember Shit.”. My mother firmly believes that it might have had something to do with pot smoking during the seventies. I knew nothing about these claims and the statutes have long passed.
So we live twice as long as chimps and this might explain why our brains start to shrivel. They only live into their 40’s. A shrinking brain is the neural equivalent of sore knees and stiff fingers. Perhaps we need to forward this blog post to our children so they can be patient with us. (if you can remember)