The human brain increases from generation to generation – Study

The same study shows this means we will have fewer dementia cases.

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The size of the human brain has increased over time. A recent study shows that it has increased considerably in the past decades, which means, scientists say, that there will also be fewer cases of dementia in the future.

A research carried out by scientists from the University of California – Davis Health showed that, for example, people born in the 70s have almost 7% larger brains than those born in the 30s.

The hippocampus, the brain region responsible for memory and learning, grew by almost 6% over the generations studied.

Birth decade has impact on size of brain

“The decade in which you were born seems to have an impact on the size of the brain and its potential long-term health,” explained neurologist Charles DeCarli, from the mentioned university, the author of the research.

“Genetics play a role in determining brain size, but our findings show that external influences – health, social, cultural and educational factors – may also play a role,” he added.

Dementia decreased over the past 30 years

Other studies have shown that the incidence of dementia in Europe and America has fallen by 13% every decade over the past 30 years, a possible reason being healthier lifestyles. And scientists say that, most likely, this trend will continue.

Dementia is marked by thinning of the gray matter, the cortex, which plays a role in memory, learning and reasoning, among other cognitive processes.

A diseased brain shrinks over time, so having a larger brain volume to begin with might help. And studies have shown that cognitive performance was better in Alzheimer’s patients who had larger heads.

However, not all scientists agree that a larger brain volume is closely related to a better “reserve”. But they all agree that regular exercise helps when it comes to increasing the volume of the brain regions responsible for memory and learning. At the same time, alcohol consumption, social isolation and an unhealthy diet have the adverse effect.

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