Cerebral atrophy is a common feature of many of the diseases that affect the brain. Atrophy of any tissue means a decrement in the size of the cell, which can be due to progressive loss of cytoplasmic proteins. In brain tissue, atrophy describes a loss of neurons and the connections between them. Atrophy can be generalized, which means that all of the brain has shrunk; or it can be focal, affecting only a limited area of the brain and resulting in a decrease of the functions that area of the brain controls. If the cerebral hemispheres (the two lobes of the brain that form the cerebrum) are affected, conscious thought and voluntary processes may be impaired.
Atrophy can affect different parts of the brain.
*Focal atrophy affects cells in certain areas of the brain and results in a loss of function in those specific areas.
*Generalized atrophy affects cells all over the brain.
*Symptoms of atrophy:
- Dementia is the loss of memory, learning, abstract thinking, and executive functions such as planning and organizing.
- Seizures are surges of abnormal electrical activity in the brain that cause repetitive movements, convulsions, and sometimes a loss of consciousness.
- Aphasias involve trouble speaking and understanding language.