Brain Differences Between Humans And Chimpanzees ASSOCIATED WITH Aging

“Although other animals experience some cognitive impairment and brain atrophy as they age group, it appears that human aging is marked by more dramatic degeneration,” said Dr. Sherwood, associate teacher of anthropology in GWs Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the volume of the complete brain and numerous specific internal structures utilizing a sample of 99 chimpanzee brains which range from 10-51 years of age.

These data were compared to brain structure volumes measured in 87 humans which range from 22-88 years. Measurements of the neocortical gray and white matter, frontal lobe white and gray matter, and the hippocampus were performed. In contrast to humans, who showed a reduction in the volume of most brain structures on the lifespan, chimpanzees did not display significant age-related changes.

Furthermore, the effects of aging in humans were only noticeable following the maximum age of chimpanzees. As a total result, the researchers figured the brain shrinkage seen in human aging is evolutionarily novel and it is the result of an extended lifespan. The hippocampus, the area of the brain accountable for encoding new memories and maintaining spatial navigation, was of specific interest to the experts, as this area is susceptible to age-associated atrophy in humans especially.

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In addition, the hippocampus is the spot of the mind most prominently suffering from Alzheimers disease (AD), an illness that is only seen in older humans primarily. AD is a kind of dementia that is associated with a loss of brain function, impacting memory, thinking and behavior. AD is because neurodegeneration, which is the intensifying loss of framework or function of neurons, including the loss of life of neurons.

The unique vulnerability observed in humans to build up AD may be in part due to the human tendency to show more pronounced brain atrophy than some other species, in normal even, healthy aging. “Whats really unusual for humans is the combination of an extremely longevity and a big brain,” said Dr. Sherwood.

Established in 1821 in the heart of the nation’s capital, the George Washington University Columbian College of Arts and Sciences is the largest of GW’s academic units. It includes the institution of Media and Public Affairs, the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, and more than 40 departments and programs for undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies. The Columbian College provides the basis for GW’s commitment to the liberal arts and an easy education for everyone students.