An old theory which was proposed in the 1880’s, explained brain degeneration. It described a process known as retrogenesis explained the process of degeneration of the brain which was in the exact opposite pattern as it was formed during childhood.
Scientists in Britain show that a particular region of the brain, linked with the formation of schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease was essentially the last part of the brain to develop and consequently the very first to undergo degeneration.
Alzheimer’s disease affects the elderly and is a neurodegenerative disorder with progressive dementia, diminished intellect and whereas, schizophrenia is a disorder that primarily affects thinking and behavior in young adults. Although the two disorders are dissimilar in manifestations, they primary area affected in both is same.
The study, published in the journal,‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ (PNAS), was led by DrGwenaëlleDouaud of Oxford University, Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB), Britain and utilized the latest imaging techniques to prove the years old theory.
The researchers scanned the brains of 484 people aged between 8 and 85 years old. They found that the area affected in both Alzheimer’s and in schizophrenia were the same and consisted of a particular group of neurons that connect superior part of the brain. This part is more commonly referred to as the heteromodal cortex. Heteromodalcortex, is an area of the gray matter, responsible for integrating multiple sensory and motor information of various origins. This area is particularly associated with the learning, thinking, processing information and behavior. This part is also associated with acquired memories and skills. This area is the last part of the human brain to develop in kids and the first to degenerate in adults.
“Our results show that the same specific parts of the brain not only develop more slowly, but also degenerate faster than other parts. These complex regions, which combine information coming from various senses, seem to be more vulnerable than the rest of the brain to both schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, even though these two diseases have different origins and appear at very different, almost opposite, times of life,” concluded Dr. Douaud.